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India Changes MBBS Curriculum After 21 Years, Doctors To Study Ethics & Attitude

From August 2019, medical undergrads will have a new course to enhance doctors’ responsiveness to the needs of patients and their families. Get all details here!

For those in school wanting to study medicine later on life, merely being a proficient doctor won’t be enough. They will have to acquire critical communication skills. At least, that’s what the latest MBBS curriculum slated to be rolled out from the 2019-20 academic session seeks to inculcate in the context of emerging diseases and scientific advances.

Revised after 21 long years, the new undergraduate curriculum was finalised by the Medical Council of India on Friday.

Titled “Competency-based UG Curriculum for the Indian Medical Graduate,” it essentially marks a significant shift from the classroom-rote learning of the 1997-born programme to one which stresses on medical ethics, better doctor-patient relationship and outcome-based learning.

“The new MBBS curriculum has a course called Attitude, Ethics and Communication (AETCOM) which will run across years. Students will be assessed for how they communicate with patients; how they counsel people for organ donations or other challenging procedures; how sensitively do they offer care and obtain consent. All these things will count along with competencies and skills,” Dr VK Paul, chairman of the Board of Governors, MCI, told The Tribune.

For representational purposes only. (Source: Facebook)
For representational purposes only. (Source: Facebook)

Here are five things you should know about the new MBBS programme in India:

1) Students will receive clinical exposure in their first year instead of the second.

2) In a bid to help students better cope with learning the complexities of medicine, overcome the language barrier and ensure they can handle the workload, the new curriculum will include a foundation course in the first year. This will assist students in their bid to transition better.

3) “Another new element is the introduction of elective subjects. Now students can pick up subjects of choice and dedicated time has been allotted for self-directed learning and co-curricular activities,” Paul told The Tribune.

4) Aside from using human cadavers for learning purposes, the use of medical mannequins and models will also be introduced for prospective doctors.

5) “The new UG curriculum regulations are more learner-centric, patient-centric, gender-sensitive, outcome-oriented and environment appropriate. The result is an outcome-driven curriculum which conforms to global trends,” says the document. In other words, students will have to step up their performance in the laboratory under “simulated and guided environments” as per The Tribune.

Some experts feel that these new provisions in the curriculum will change the type of doctors India produces in the future, although we’ll have to wait and see if that’s the case.

Bridging the doctor-patient power dynamic, which was earlier skewed highly in favour of the latter, the new curriculum seeks to instil empathy and globally relevant medical knowledge.

These changes to the curriculum come at an interesting time with the Centre dissolving the MCI and replacing it with a Board of Governors in the wake of multiple corruption charges and allegation of unethical practices against former office bearers and the institutions under its jurisdiction.

Also Read: Govt Dissolves MCI, New Board to Supersede It: What Every Indian Should Know!

Following the dissolution, the Union Cabinet issued an ordinance appointing a seven-member committee to operate the medical education regulator until the bill proposing the creation of National Medical Commission, a statutory body that will replace the MCI, is passed by Parliament.

Will the new curriculum stand once the new NMC takes over medical education in India from the current board of governors? There is little clarity on the subject.

(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

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