TN medical students against NMC's move to remove respiratory medicine department

Dr Keerthy Varman, President of TNMSA, mentions that chest diseases is a very serious subject
Image for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)
Image for representational purpose only | (Pic: Express)

The Tamil Nadu Medical Students Association (TNMSA) is worried about the fact that the respiratory medicine department has been removed from the mandatory list of undergraduate medical education or the MBBS curriculum. The revised MBBS Curriculum Regulation was published by the National Medical Commission (NMC) on August 16. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PMR) and Emergency Medicine too have not been included.

Dr Keerthy Varman, President of TNMSA, mentions that chest diseases comprise a serious subject and must remain under the mandatory list. "About 60 per cent of the Indian population smokes, while diseases like lung cancer, tuberculosis, bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia are very common in India. Additionally, we have all been affected by COVID, and know the consequences," he claims.

Owing to the commonality of these diseases, MBBS students must learn about these diseases and be able to identify them to treat them, Dr Varman states. Calling the NMC's decision a retrograde step, he mentions that this will affect the patients as well.

Notably, in the Minimum Requirements for Annual MBBS Admissions Regulations, 2020, NMC mentioned that a minimum of 24 departments, including respiratory medicine, must be available in a college approved for undergraduate medical education. However, in the 2023 Regulations, the number of departments was reduced to 20 and respiratory medicine was removed.

This has left the medical fraternity confused and frustrated. According to news reports, various medical communities have raised their voices against this move. The TNMSA has observed that it might plan a protest if the NMC continues to bring such measures in place, which are "not beneficial", as Dr Varman claims.

He adds that students in Tamil Nadu are also against the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and the National Exit Test (NExT) exams. The doctors are upset about having to undertake AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) practices for about a week during their internship, claims Dr Varman, labelling this as "mixopathy". "The District Residency Programme implemented this year is also not needed in Tamil Nadu as there is no shortage of doctors here," he says.

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