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9 June, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 June, 2018 11:57:56 PM
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Medical education in Bangladesh and its impact on doctors and patients

Since medical education is highly sensitive technical education, the number of colleges obviously matters less than the quality they offer
Sakib Hasan
Medical education in Bangladesh and its impact on doctors and patients

Medical colleges both public and private ones are basically meant for imparting medical education to the admitted students to make them prospective well-qualified doctors so that they can serve the nation upon completion of their stipulated course tenure. At present, there are 83 medical colleges in Bangladesh. Of them 29 are public and the rest 54 are private medical colleges. Apart from these, there are still six more medical colleges which are run by the armed forces under the ministry of defence. Management of both the public and private medical colleges have been placed under regulatory body named Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council directed by the ministry of health.

In addition, two medical universities in Dhaka and Chittagong have been in operation for quite a long time. Besides, Rajshahi Medical College and Sylhet Medical College have been upgraded as Medical Universities though the full-scale commissioning of these two newly-upgraded medical universities are yet to be stated. Medical colleges award MBBS degrees while the Medical Universities and some selected medical colleges confer post-graduate degrees like MS, MD and FCPS degrees.

Degree without dignity cannot go a long way in ensuring intended quality. A degree is automatically turned an ineffectual paper-tiger if not solidified by in-depth and comprehensive practical knowledge especially in the cases of medical education. Because of the absence of adequate academic facilities and cohesive professional knowledge required by the global standard, our medical education is still far away from touching the international benchmark.   

Since medical education is highly sensitive technical education, the number of colleges obviously matters less than the quality they offer. When the prime minister herself raised the question regarding the quality of medical education, the message is well conveyed to us all. While speaking as chief guest at a seminar on critical disease treatment in Bangladesh at Krishibid Institution in March, she advised the doctors and the staff of the private medical colleges to be more attentive to the quality medical education and curriculum. From prime minister’s note of concern, the disappointingly poor performance of the private medical colleges, if not all, is all the more crystal clear.

It is a fact that the quality of medical education in Bangladesh has long been compromised for a number of contributory factors and their resultant effect. Talking to a number of students of both private and public medical colleges and some honourable faculty members, a number of conspicuously formidable challenges to quality medical education can easily be spotted. The most prominent problems for which our medical education is limping all through include insufficient faculties and poor facilities. It sounds simply outrageous that some of the public medical colleges are run with 50% less faculties in six major medical subjects like anatomy, pathology, biochemistry, pharmacology, physiology, etc. Many of these medical colleges neither have well-furnished libraries with latest edition basic books. Nor do they have adequately furnished laboratory facilities.

If the mentioned episodes happen to be the ground realities prevalent in public medical colleges, the inner facts of the private medical colleges with hardly some exceptions, are within anybody’s guess. Most of the private medical colleges are riddled with scores of problems right from the head down to the toe.

These medical colleges are run by less than 50 percent average faculties let alone the resourceful ones. 50 percent of these faculties are part-timers working on an ad hoc basis. Any temporary mechanism can hardly yield sustainable and potential result. Where there is less responsibility, there is less output. Another crucial problem that is eating into the quality of the private medical colleges is the absence of adequate morgue facilities. Quite a scanty supply of dead bodies is depriving the doctor-students to have very practical knowledge on human bodies essential for their becoming qualified doctors.

Now a relevant question naturally arises as to what is the use of issuing permission for opening more private as well as public universities once we fail to maintain the required standard? Doctors without adequate practical and field-based applied knowledge are neither fit for rendering optimum services to the home patient nor are they capable of working competently in the overseas countries.

The stark fact is that they themselves increasingly become risk factors to the patients they happen to treat. If a degree-holding doctor fails to find the vein for just a saline push-in and then takes the professional help of an experienced nurse it is a shame not only for the doctor in question but also for the whole nation.    

The course duration and rather archaic curriculum of all Bangladeshi medical colleges are other challenging hurdles in the way of achieving the global standard. In Canada, USA, EU countries medical education is treated with topmost priority. A student aspiring after attaining a graduation or a bachelor degree has to spend nearly 10 years. Most commendably, their course curriculum is regularly updated and revised incorporating the latest researches and innovations which is why their quality always tends to achieve excellence. This uncompromising approach towards the teaching materials as well as the healthy teaching and learning environment has helped them attain global standard.

Doctors are the people who are directly concerned with our health and lives. Any inadequacy and lapse in their professional knowledge on their part can hardly be accepted. Surely, it is not our beloved young prospective doctors who are at fault. Rather, the highest decision-making authority’s mad run after quantity without quality just to earn mass laurels has to be stopped immediately for far too greater welfare of the nation.   

          

The writer, Assistant

Professor of English in

Bogra Cantonment Public School & College, is a contributor to

The Independent.

E-mail: shasanbogra1@gmail.com

 

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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