Dealing with errant private medical colleges

Dhaka,  Fri,  23 June 2017
Published : 18 May 2017, 21:28:25
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Editorial

Dealing with errant private medical colleges

The medical institutions are not giving emphasis in their curricula on care and sympathy doctors need to show to their patients. Equally, the BMDC, the watchdog of medical profession, is, apparently, not making the new doctors adequately aware of the essence of Hippocratic Oath they make while entering the noble profession
One can hardly miss the health minister's deep frustration at the ongoing developments surrounding a number of private medical colleges in the country. Private medical colleges, according to the minister, have been mushrooming and indulging in fraudulence to misguide the authorities and continue their existence. Allegations such as non-compliance with rules and regulations and deployment of fake teachers and patients to hoodwink the inspection teams are, in fact, of serious nature. Such errant medical colleges that have been proving to be major obstacles to quality medical education deserve tough punishment. But the minister, while speaking at a recent function in Dhaka, did also make frank admission of his inability to go for tough actions. He blamed inter-ministerial complexities and unwillingness of the agencies concerned for non-implementation of various decisions aimed at streamlining operations of private medical colleges. 

There is no denying that the quality of medical education in the country has gone down in recent years despite the fact that more and more medical colleges, both in private and public sectors, have come up to meet an ever-growing need for doctors in the country. At the moment there are 23 government and 54 private medical colleges and 15 dental colleges, including the largest one in the public sector. All these are approved by the Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BMDC) and the onus lies with the council to monitor the activities of these educational institutions. How fairly it has been meeting its responsibility remains a matter of doubt. The health minister's recent public statement does prove the allegation right that the council has not been doing enough to deal with errant medical colleges. 

Admittedly, the quality of medical education in a small number of government medical colleges during pre- and post-Independence days used to be very high. Many students from countries of neighbouring South Asia, the Middle East and Africa came to study in these colleges. Even the private medical colleges that were granted permission initially had tried to offer quality education in line with that of the government medical institutions. However, things started deteriorating when political connections came into play in securing permission for more and more private medical and dental colleges. This unhealthy practice has led to the 'mushrooming' of medical and dental institutions. 

The developments that have given rise to both frustration and disappointment in none other than the health minister are, to a large extent, outcome of the permission given to some undeserving people to open medical colleges. The very objective of this unscrupulous section of people was to make money. No humanitarian or noble cause has guided them to open medical institutions. That is why they tend to employ all fraudulent practices to stay in business. 

The implications of imparting poor quality education to medical students who would be dealing with lives of millions in the future are dangerous.  Incidence of deaths due to wrong diagnosis and poor treatment in hospitals and clinics has been high in recent years. Attacks on doctors or ransacking of hospitals have also been on the rise. Moreover, medical institutions, it seems, are not giving emphasis in their curricula on care and sympathy doctors need to show to their patients. Equally, the BMDC, the watchdog of medical profession is, apparently, not making the new doctors adequately aware of the essence of Hippocratic Oath that they make while entering the noble profession. Unless the government takes actions against errant medical colleges immediately, the situation might one day become truly unmanageable.  

 
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Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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