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Harsh Vardhan asks Odisha medicos to serve people who fund their education

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Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 20:

Even as the dearth of doctors has hit the health sector in the country hard, the rise in the number of medicos seeking a career abroad has compounded the problem, Union Health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan , who is on a 3-day Odisha tour, said today while expressing his helplessness over the issue.

Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan meeting chief minister Naveen Patnaik
Union Health minister Harsh Vardhan meeting chief minister Naveen Patnaik

The Union minister said that the only way out is to motivate the medicos to stay back and serve the people in the country, adding, no policy or laws can be made in today’s  liberalised world to restrict or stop the brain drain.

“A large number of trained medicos are leaving India each year for more lucrative careers abroad. The government does not have any law that can be applied to force them to repay the subsidies that funded their education. “It is up to the doctors to feel concerned about the health goals of the nation and contribute their might in achieving them. No policy can be made for this. Motivation is the only powerful tool to stop them,” said Dr Vardhan at a press conference here on Sunday.

He advised the students pursuing the medical courses at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to work for the country as crores of tax payers’ money are being spent to make train them as doctors.

“Please be conscious that you are receiving world class medical education at next to no cost to yourselves. To educate and train one doctor at the AIIMS, the taxpayers pay anywhere between Rs 8crore and 10 crore. The poorest of Odias and Indian are subsidizing you. So, when you become doctors please work selflessly so that India can achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals,” said the Minister.

Over 53% of AIIMS graduates leave India to work abroad. According to the Medical Council of India (MCI), till July 27, 2011, as many as 767 Indian doctors have left India for foreign shores.

According to the World Health Organization, there are six doctors in India for every 10, 000 patients, whereas in China and the US , there are 14 and 26 respectively for the similar number of patients.

The Minister also informed that a new national health policy will soon be made after taking suggestions from the state governments, to plan out strategies for the improvement of the health sector.