Hospitals with at least 100 operative beds can apply for accreditation from the National Board of Examinations (NBE) for the diploma courses.
The NBE, an autonomous institution of the Ministry of Health, has started two-year diploma courses in eight major areas after the MBBS: anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, family medicine, ophthalmology, radiodiagnosis, ENT and tuberculosis as well as breast diseases.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) converted its diploma courses into degree programs in 2019 to help overcome the shortage of teaching staff in the country.
To fill the gap created by the discontinuation of the MCI diploma courses, the Department of Health had asked the National Board of Examinations to consider the possibility of starting the diploma courses under its auspices, an NBE official said.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the weaknesses and deficiencies of the primary and secondary health systems became apparent, adding additional strain to tertiary health centers and transforming medical colleges into dedicated COVID care and treatment centers.
“It was therefore imperative to expand hospitals for the population in rural, semi-urban areas, and Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities,” said Professor Pawanindra Lal, Executive Director of NBE.
After a series of consultations with the NITI Aayog, the Medical Council of India and the Ministry of Health, the NBE prepared a draft for the start of graduate courses and then announced the start on August 20.
NBE’s graduate courses are approved by the Union Department of Health and are included in the First Schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act of 1956, see a notice dated Aug. 6.
Professor Lal hoped the diploma courses would provide the district hospitals with the much-needed trained workforce.
“This will improve the readiness of district and sub-district hospitals to provide effective health care in situations like the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
The NBE graduate courses in anesthesiology, family medicine, tuberculosis and breast disease will provide trained workers in the community’s geographic region to deal with epidemics and common diseases, the NBE executive director said.
The graduate courses in pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology will improve the reproductive and child health care system and will prove to be a milestone in reducing maternal and child mortality, he added.
Dr. Abhijat Sheth, President of NBE, recognized the role of the Ministry of Health in rapidly approving NBE diploma courses, saying, “These courses provide our medical graduates with a much-needed opportunity to pursue postgraduate education, when this is considered it is still a significant one Lack of post graduate places compared to MBBS. ”
Professor Lal said the NBE diploma courses should focus on state hospitals and district hospitals.
Access to the diploma courses is via NEET-PG in accordance with the provisions for postgraduate medical training communicated by the MCI.
Taking into account the requirements of the states, 50 percent of the NBE diploma seats in the district hospitals of a state are reserved for the serving candidates of the state concerned. This will reduce reliance on Tier I cities for healthcare.