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Editorial (Dr SS Agarwal, Dr K K Aggarwal)
23rd April 2016
IMA reacts on various reports in media about medicine in India   
Of late, there have been unfavorable reports in the media about the status of medicine and healthcare in India.
  • A story reported April 21, 2016 in the Hindustan Times, ‘Just 4 institutes account for a third of India’s research output’ by Sanchita Sharma, said that India has the best and the worst medical education in the world, according to a review of the world’s largest database of peer-reviewed literature. Four medical colleges in India are among the top 10 global institutions that published the most research between 2004 and 2014, while around 60% of the country’s 579 medical institutions have published no research in a decade. Only 25 (4.3%) institutions published more than 100 papers a year and, among them, accounted for 40.3% of India’s total research output of a little over 100,000 papers in the decade. In comparison, the annual research output of the Massachusetts General Hospital was more than 4,600 and the Mayo Clinic was 3,700. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences, with more than 1,100 annual publications, ranked third.
  • Dr Samiran Nundy, Dean, Ganga Ram Institute For Postgraduate Medical Education & Research (GRIPMER) and the author of the study said, “What’s most shocking is that 332 (57.3%) medical colleges had not a single publication during this period. The states with the largest number of private medical colleges did the worst, with more than 90% of the medical colleges in Karnataka and Kerala having no publication at all.” GRIPMER was ranked 11th in the list of institutions that published the most research. 
  • According to the journal Current Medicine Research & Practice, between 2005 and 2014, the total research output in the country was 101,034 papers. All the institutions surveyed were either recognised by the MCI or the National Board of Examinations, the two bodies that regulate medical education in India. The MCI’s 2015 guidelines require at least four research publications for the post of an associate professor and eight for the post of a professor. Dr K Srinath Reddy, president, Public Health Foundation of India said that there is a need to incentivise quality research, which is an “indicator of an institute’s quality of education and clinical care”...
  • Max Bearak reported in The Washington Post on April 21, 2016 that most medical colleges in India are “very bad”. In his report, “How bad are most of India’s medical schools? Very, according to new reports” he says that though India produces some of the world's best doctors, from reputable institutions in and out of the country and it has 579 medical colleges and teaching hospitals, the highest in the world. However, recent studies have cast serious doubts on the quality and ethics of the country's vast medical schooling system.  The most recent revealed that more than half of those 579 did not publish even a single peer-reviewed research paper in more than a decade (2005-2014), and that almost half of all papers were from just 25 of those institutions. Dr Samiran Nundy, a senior GI surgeon in Delhi and author of one such study told The Telegraph that these findings support long-standing suspicions that for many private colleges in the country, medical education is just a business. AIIMS was the most productive medical college in India. In the 10-year period that Samiran Nundy and his colleagues examined, AIIMS published 11,300 research papers. For context, that is about a quarter of what Massachusetts General Hospital produced in the same time frame.
  • A four-month-long probe by Reuters found that since 2010, "at least 69 Indian medical colleges and teaching hospitals have been accused of such transgressions or other significant failings, including rigging entrance exams or accepting bribes to admit students," and that "one out of every six of the country’s 398 medical schools has been accused of cheating, according to Indian government records and court filings."  In a country with the world's heaviest health burden, and highest rates of death from treatable diseases like diarrhea, tuberculosis and pneumonia, corruption at medical schools is an extremely pressing issue.
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A 30-year-old female from New Delhi asked: 
I suffered from TB 15 years back & that got cured after 9 month course of medicine. Now I am 30 and trying for pregnancy from the last 4-5 months. My follicular study was normal. Is that TB treatment (which was done 15 years back) is creating problem in conceiving?

Dr. Brahma Prakash, Pulmonologist, replied:
No, its not tb treatment that might be causing trouble in conceiving, but there are chances when you had tb (i guess it was... read more 
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Webcast Date: 28th April 2016