Medical students furious at proposed two-year internship

MNA Career & Education Desk: Enraged medical students organized a protest rally and took to social media to vent their fury on Saturday against the government’s proposal of implementing a two-year internship programme for aspiring doctor.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Aug 27 issued a circular attaching the draft policy and sought opinions on the issue by September 18.

The plan proposes posting second year medical interns to an upazila health complex after completing the first year of the internship in their respective medical college hospitals, as per a report.

At present, an aspiring physician on completing the five-year MBBS course has to undertake a year-long internship with a temporary license from the Bangladesh Medical & Dental Council (BMDC).

The license becomes permanent upon completing the internship from their respective medical college hospitals.

Students of Sir Sallimullah Medical College in Dhaka organized a protest rally on the campus on Saturday while others took to social media to vent their fury over the draft plan.

Mohammad Moniruzzaman, a fifth year student of Sir Salimullah Medical College, said they will never accept the proposal.

“It takes six and a half years for a regular student to become a doctor. With an additional year of internship, it will now take seven and a half years. In India and even in the United States, a doctor can complete post-graduation within that time. Why should we suffer?” he asked.

“This will only prolong our entry to the job,” he said.

“If the government needs doctors in upazila health complex, why don’t they recruit more doctors? But how will we do that job? How will we learn? Who will supervise us? In medical college hospitals, we learn in an academic environment from assistant registrar, registrar, assistant professor, associate professor and on top of that, professors.”

“But in upazilas, there is no such environment,” he said.

One medical student told the news agency, “Please help us. It will destroy our future, our career.”

President of Swadhinata Chikitshok Parishad, Awami League’s doctors’ wing, Prof Iqbal Arslan made a guarded comment on the matter when asked.

“Without analyzing the situation, no such decision should be taken,” said he.

President of BMDC Prof Mohammod Shahidullah, however, said they were not aware of the circular.

“Any decision related to the medical curriculum or internship must be taken by the BMDC.”

“Yes there have been meetings in the ministry and our representatives were there. But we maintained that there must be thorough discussions before taking this decision. We had no idea that they will issue a circular,” he said.

He said the BMDC formed a committee to look into the details of the feasibility of introducing two years of internship.

“We have to think about the implications before taking any decision. Whether its feasible in the Bangladeshi context or not. And where will they stay if we send them to the upazillas and who will teach them?”

Dr Sheikh Abdullah Al Mamun, who is the secretary general of a new doctors’ platform, Foundation for Doctors’ Safety and Rights, criticized the move.

“It’s a farce,” he said. “Both doctors and the public will be affected,” he said.

“Internship is a part of the entire medical curriculum. It’s a crucial training. If you pass medical, you are not a complete doctor until and unless you go through proper internship. And this training must be taken under supervision. Where will you get supervisors in upazila health complexes?”

He said the current environment at the upazila health complexes is also not fit for young doctors to go and see patients.

“Many untoward things happen even with mature doctors who are posted through BCS and foundation training.”

“This new proposal, if implemented, it will only prolong their study and doctors will become frustrated. It takes over six years to complete graduation, including internship, as it is.”


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