To address the paucity of specialist doctors in district hospitals, the Centre has revived post-graduate diploma courses that one can pursue by clearing the NEET-PG exam after completing MBBS.
Hospitals with a minimum of 100 operational beds are eligible to seek accreditation with National Board of Examinations (NBE) for the diploma courses.
The NBE, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Health has launched post-MBBS two-year diploma courses in eight broad specialities — anesthesiology, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, family medicine, ophthalmology, radiodiagnosis, ENT and tuberculosis, and chest disease.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had in 2019 converted its diploma courses into degree courses to overcome the shortfall of teaching faculty in the country.
To fill the void caused by discontinuing the MCI diploma courses, the health ministry had asked the National Board of Examinations to look into the possibility of launching the diploma courses under its aegis, an NBE official said.
The diploma courses of NBE are approved by the Union Health Ministry, and are included in the first schedule of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956, vide a gazette notification dated August 6.
The NBE diploma courses in anesthesiology, family medicine, tuberculosis and chest disease will provide trained manpower within the geographic region of the community for handling epidemics and common diseases, the NBE executive director said.
The diploma courses in paediatrics, obstetrics and gynaecology will augment reproductive and child healthcare delivery system and will prove to be a milestone in reducing maternal and infant mortality.