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Mahesh Avadhutha    12 June 2018

Hyderabad:  The fresh move by the Telangana State Paramedical Board to impart training to registered and private medical practitioners, commonly known as RMPs and PMPs, is leading to a fresh row with government and private doctors opposing the move tooth and nail.

The Indian Medical Association (IMA)-Telangana unit, Telangana Government Doctors’ Association and Junior Doctors Association are asking the government to drop the move saying that public health will be at a risk. Doctors are opposing the very concept of training practitioners and certifying them as professionals after a one-year course.

It may be mentioned here that this training concept was started in 2009 during former CM Y S Rajashekar Reddys period in the combined state of Andhra Pradesh. The paramedical board then conducted training for a few months for RMPs from various districts, but this initiative came to unexpected halt in early 2010 and the uncertain political situation in the state pushed the same into cold storage for several years.

However, after the formation of Telangana, the TRS government issued a GO-428 in June 2015 directing the Telangana State Paramedical Board to start training of RMPs/PMPs with community paramedic training programme.

It also issued guidelines for working of RMPs/PMPs in the state that they should not call themselves as doctors, name their working place as first aid centre instead of clinic or hospital; should not dispense any medicines other than over the counter drugs, etc to name a few.

It is stated in the GO that the government wants to improve availability of qualified trained health providers in rural areas to attend to health needs of the rural community and to promote and improve health status. The GO took almost three years for its implementation.

A few days ago, the officials tried to start a training programme in Banswada in Nizamabad district, but it was disrupted by junior doctors from the Nizamabad government medical college forcing the cancellation of the programme.

HRDA (Healthcare Reforms Doctors Association) is faulting the fresh move of the government because it filed a writ petition in the High Court on this issue in last October and the case is still pending with the court.

Giving his perspective, Mahesh Kumar, president of the HRDA said, “A medicine student toils hard for more than five years to study medicine and obtains an MBBS degree.

Even the five years is not enough to understand a human body. It is strange to know that the government intends to train rural practitioners for one year after which they would be given certificates to continue their practice."

In a counter argument, Telangana RMPs/PMPs Association founder president S Venkat Reddy said it is the medical practitioners who are toiling hard in rural and remote areas to extend medical aid and advice to the needy public as the doctors’ community shies away from working there.

“We have high respect for MBBS doctors. RMPs/PMPs with several years of experience at the ground are being trained by senior doctors for one year (3 months of theory, 3 months of working in state hospitals, three months of working in 104 call centres and 3 months of field work.)

Also, we are extending first aid in rural areas and guiding patients to visit so and so hospital or a doctor in town or city for better treatment. If any RMP/PMP is found to violate prescribed rules, let the government take action.

But faulting everyone is not fair,” he said. Meanwhile, sources in the Telangana State Paramedical Board stated that they would sort out the concerns in various sections over the programme. Efforts are on to extend the initiative to few other centres in the state, sources said.

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