|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2016 | Volume
| Issue : 2 | Page : 158-159
Community medicine teaching for paramedical courses in India: Does the curriculum for medical laboratory technology course need a revision?
Mahendra M Reddy, Sonali Sarkar, Kalaiselvi Selvaraj, Subitha Lakshminarayanan
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Puducherry, India
|Date of Web Publication||19-Aug-2016|
Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, 4th Floor, Administrative Block, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Dhanvantri Nagar, Puducherry - 605 006
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Reddy MM, Sarkar S, Selvaraj K, Lakshminarayanan S. Community medicine teaching for paramedical courses in India: Does the curriculum for medical laboratory technology course need a revision?. Educ Health 2016;29:158-9
|How to cite this URL:|
Reddy MM, Sarkar S, Selvaraj K, Lakshminarayanan S. Community medicine teaching for paramedical courses in India: Does the curriculum for medical laboratory technology course need a revision?. Educ Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2019 Nov 16];29:158-9. Available from: http://www.educationforhealth.net/text.asp?2016/29/2/158/188782
In India, National Health Policy (2002) has recognised the need for regulation of curricula for paramedical disciplines to maintain standards of training.  But, there is still a lack of consensus regarding the curriculum for paramedical courses, unlike for medical and dental courses in the country. Hence, some universities or colleges are teaching Community Medicine to paramedical students as a part of their curriculum while others are not. , In Puducherry, for example, in the Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Technology (B.Sc. MLT) track, Community Medicine is being taught mostly in the final year (fifth semester) for a duration of six months in most medical colleges. Both theory and practical aspects of Community Medicine are covered.  The recent health sector reforms introduced under the National Health Mission place emphasis on multi skilling, patient satisfaction and quality of health care. Curricula which need to be on par with the current health sector reforms further point to the importance of orienting these paramedical students to understand community needs.  However, before revamping curricula, it is also important to assess what currently exists. It is especially important to understand the perspectives of key stakeholders, like students, who have completed courses and are actively practicing in the field.
We conducted a cross-sectional survey among the laboratory technicians working in the Departments of Pathology, Microbiology and Biochemistry in a medical college hospital, in Puducherry in October 2014. Their perception regarding the curriculum and teaching of Community Medicine was solicited using a self-administered questionnaire. All participants had finished their B.Sc. MLT course from tertiary care institutes which had a full-fledged Department of Community Medicine. Of the 54 participants, 96.3% responded that Community Medicine was taught to them over a period of six months as part of their undergraduate training. When asked to rate the usefulness of teaching and training in Community Medicine for their practice on a 3-point Likert scale, 24% said it was not useful, while 44.4% and 31.6% mentioned somewhat useful and very useful, respectively. When asked to list the topics they felt to be very useful, 24 participants responded. Among the topics were: family planning (33.3%); water treatment/purification and sewage disposal/treatment (25% each); vector control and non-communicable disease epidemiology (12.5% each). When participants were asked to suggest useful topics not covered in the current curriculum, only 13% responded. Basic therapeutics, patient counselling and universal precautions were suggested to be included in the curriculum. Overall, 69% of participants felt that Community Medicine helped them in understanding disease epidemiology; while similarly, 49% felt Community Medicine helped in communicating with and advising patients in a better way.
On the other hand, only 59% of participants recommended that Community Medicine be taught for future paramedical classes. This may be largely due to the mismatch between a curriculum of Community Medicine and job descriptions of B.Sc. MLT practice. There was also a split between the participants regarding the ideal duration of teaching for Community Medicine, where 48% felt it should be taught over a one-year period and 42.5% indicated six months was enough, with the remaining not responding.
Although a small sample size, there is certainly an expressed need among the B.Sc. MLT technicians to revamp the Community Medicine teaching for the better. It is important for the concerned professional councils to act now and revise the curriculum, to make Community Medicine learning and also its practice an enjoyable and meaningful one for those in paramedical positions.
Financial support and sponsorship
Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
| References|| |
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). National Health Policy, 2002. New Delhi: MOHFW; 2002. p. 34.
Report of the Working Group on National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) for the Twelfth Five Year Plan (2012-2017). New Delhi, Planning Commission; 2011. p. 22-6.