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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 31  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 164-168

The need to focus on medical education in rural districts of India

1 Department of Community Medicine, L.B.R.K.M. Government Medical College, Jagdalpur, Bastar 494001, Chhattisgarh, India
2 Department of Academics, Public Health Foundation India, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Epidemiology, National Institute for Research in Environmental Health, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Kishor Parashramji Brahmapurkar
Department of Community Medicine, L.B.R.K.M. Government Medical College, Jagdalpur, Bastar 494001, Chhattisgarh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-258X.255761

Background. Globally, India has the highest number of medical colleges followed by Brazil and China. The density of physicians in rural India was 3 per 10 000 population against 13 per 10 000 in urban areas. Worldwide, studies show that medical schools play an important role in overcoming the shortage of physicians locally. Hence, we studied the distribution of medical colleges in India and reviewed the shortage of established and new medical colleges in rural districts with the year 2000 as baseline. Methods. We used the database of the Medical Council of India as on 27 April 2017; and Census 2011 data, based on the percentage of rural/urban population, for the classification of districts (rural/urban). All the 640 districts were included with 1210.9 million population. Results. Of the 480 rural districts in India, only 132 (27.5%) had a medical college. Jharkhand, Jammu and Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh had no medical colleges in rural districts. Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Rajasthan had <30% of rural districts with a medical college. Of the 286 new medical colleges established since 2000 in India, 130 (45.5%) were in rural districts with uneven distribution with lower percentage of new medical colleges in states with predominance of rural population. Conclusion. There is an overall shortage of medical colleges in rural districts of India. Paradoxically, the trend of uneven rural–urban distribution continues among the newly opened medical colleges as well.

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