The health ministry will soon finalise the syllabus for the proposed short-term medical course for training doctors especially for rural areas, an official said Wednesday.
'The course is now in its advanced stage of finalisation,' a senior official from the health ministry said.
The official said almost all state governments have given their nod to the syllabus.
'The syllabus has got the nod of most of the state governments. Only a few minor changes have to be made before it is ready,' he said.
The three-year bachelor of rural medicine and surgery course has been proposed by the health ministry to cope with shortage of doctors in rural areas.
Officials said the course will be conducted at district level medical schools in notified rural areas. The schools will be set up by the central government and will take 20 to 25 students each.
These students will be given basic medical training for three years and will get a license to work in rural areas with a population of less than 5,000. There will not be any specialisation for these doctors.
The official, however, added that the doctors trained under this course may be allowed only to work in sub-centres of primary health centres following objections from the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
The course has been widely criticised by the IMA, which has held that it will produce half-baked doctors.
The health ministry official clarified that the course will not affect the quality of health care in the country.
'It will not dilute the medical profession in any manner. These doctors will be there to provide basic health care in the areas where we at present have only midwives or auxiliary nurses,' the official said.
There are nearly 25,000 primary health centres in the country with four or five sub-centres under them. According to the Planning Commission, India faces a shortage of about six lakh doctors.