Coronavirus: Foreign-trained Indian doctors seek exemption from exam, say could add 20,000 medics

By: PTI | New Delhi |

Published: March 27, 2020 7:31:19 pm

This can allow them to practice right away and meet the lack of doctors, the association claims (File)

A body of foreign-trained Indian MBBS doctors on Friday said it has urged the government to exempt them from a mandatory licensure exam so that they are immediately available for the country’s services as it fights the COVID-19 pandemic.

This one step will add around 20,000 MBBS doctors and 1,000 specialists in the medical workforce against the fight with COVID-19, the All India Foreign Medical Graduates Association (AIFMGA) claimed in its letter to the government.

The letter, dated March 26, has been addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A copy has also been sent to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, said AIFMGA President Dr. A Najeerul Ameen.  The association is yet to receive an official response or acknowledgement.

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According to government rules, any Indian citizen possessing a primary medical qualification awarded by a foreign institution who wants provisional or permanent registration with Medical Council of India or any state’s medical council needs to qualify a screening test (Foreign Medical Graduates Examination or FMGE) conducted by the MCI through the National Board of Examinations (NBE).

“Looking at the current scenario, India may face huge crisis of doctors to tackle the situation. When the same situation arose in the UK and Italy, they utilised the resource of final year medical students to handle the situation by entering into mainstream of healthcare system of these respective countries,” the association stated in the letter.

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It said in the coming days, the country will not only require MBBS graduates but a plethora of postgraduate specialists in different fields of medicine and surgery to effectively tackle this once in life time situation. We should be preparing well in advance, Hence this representation, the letter said.

The association said there are thousands of Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs) of Indian origin who completed their medical education from abroad but are waiting for registering in the country.

Currently, these foreign medical graduates have to clear MCI screening exam, while on the other hand the broad speciality (MD/ MS) trained postgraduates don’t even have any provision of screening exam and are devoid of any opportunity of registering in the country.

These modern medicine-trained FMGs also want to serve our mother country where there is huge crisis of doctors. Hence, on the aforesaid matter, we would like to urge the Prime Minister and the Health Minister to consider this one-time exception of foreign-trained MBBS and foreign-trained Broad Specialities (MD/ MS) and allow them to register with the MCI and join the fight against COVID19 before it’s too late, the association said.

This one step will add around 20,000 MBBS doctors and 1,000 specialists in the workforce against our fight with COVID19, it claimed in the letter.

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