Under new guidelines, Charak Shapath instead of Hippocratic oath for medical students

Students who have joined the current batch of MBBS will take the Maharshi Charak Shapath instead of the Hippocratic oath, with National Medical Commission, the medical education regulatory authority, including it as a part of its revised competency-based medical education.

Making the decision official, the guidelines state, “Modified ‘Maharshi Charak Shapath’ is recommended when a candidate is introduced to medical education.”

This comes days after Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Dr Bharti Pravin Pawar said in a reply to Rajya Sabha, “As informed by the National Medical Commission (NMC), there is no proposal of replacement of Hippocratic Oath with Charak Shapath.”

The new guidelines also recommend a 10-day yoga “foundation course”, beginning June 12 every year and culminating on the International Yoga Day June 21. “Yoga module will be made available to all colleges… however colleges may adopt their own modules. Yoga unit may be inducted under PMR department or any other department of all colleges at their discretion,” according to the revised guidelines.

The revised curriculum initiates community health training from the first year itself and remains throughout the course, under which students will conduct field visits to community health centres and adopt villages not covered by primary health centres. Details on the adoption programme state, “around 65.5% of the population resides in rural settings, whereas availability of healthcare facilities and services are skewed towards urban setups… It is the access to healthcare to a rural citizen that is a major concern.”

According to doctors, the current curriculum teaches community medicine third year onwards. Forensic medicine and toxicology course, which used to start in second year, has been shifted to third year.

“The courses have been moved around a bit, and that’s it. With the pandemic, the focus should have been on subjects such as virology and microbiology but no such thing has happened in the revised curriculum,” Dr Rohan Krishnan, president of the Federation of All India Medical Association (FAIMA), said.

Students who take admission this year will also have to take the National Exit Test (NExT), a licentiate examination which will also act as the MBBS final exam and the basis for selection of PG courses. The first batch was to undergo NExT this year itself. However, it is not viable, many say.

“NExT cannot be implemented this year because the candidates for PG admissions have already completed their internship after their final exam last year. The batch after that will also have completed their final exams, so the exam can be implemented only 2024 onwards,” Dr Krishnan said.

An NMC member also confirmed that the first NExT exam is likely to take place in 2024.

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