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Opinion

MP varsity faces criticism for unique first aid diploma

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Atal Bihari Vajpayee Hindi University (ABVH), run by the Madhya Pradesh government, has launched a new first aid diploma course that it has sought to popularize by effectively promoting quackery, and to which it has tried to give a veneer of respectability. creating a first Aid Council of India (FACI), which has signed the program.

“Neem Hakeem, Jhola Chaap’s doctor (read charlatans) or anyone else can start their first aid center to earn money after obtaining the diploma of first aid specialist,” read an advertisement issued by the university in different newspapers and social media platforms in December. 14 to promote the one-year diploma. The price of the course is Rs 28,000.

Doctors and experts have objected to the course, saying it promotes charlatanism.

The university, which started in Bhopal in 2011 with the vision of promoting Hindi, has introduced three diplomas: first aid specialists, natural pharmacy, and yoga and natural therapy. Governor Anandiben Patel is rector of the university.

Additional Secretary to Governor Rajesh Kaul said: “The university is an autonomous body and the executive members are free to make decisions related to the course. If we receive any complaints, we will take action. ”

“These are the first courses of their kind,” said Ramdev Bhardwaj, the university’s rector, in a message to the media to promote the course. “Several state governments and the central government have discussed the proposal to start a first aid course many times, but no institution in India has introduced one. We have taken the initiative and it is essential that all people learn life-saving first aid methods. ”

Ajay Sahu, the director in charge of diploma courses, said this course provides an opportunity for everyone, including 12th class graduates and even non-degree doctors, to become self-sufficient. Your referral is to local doctors (often unlicensed).

“The course basically needs a basic understanding of health that has a student who has passed class 12. It is not a specific thing of a subject, so it does not need any basic qualification or knowledge of any particular subject.”

“Even the World Health Organization (WHO) promotes first aid programs. We are following the 300 page WHO manual for the first aid course. Videos, audios and brochures prepared by experts and doctors will be provided to students. They will be posted online due to the Covid-19 pandemic, ”Sahu explained.

He also stated that this course did not need any kind of permission or recognition. To support his claim, he shared with HT, the responses of the Medical Council of India (MCI) and Ayush’s ministry to the Right to Information (RTI) requests that he had submitted, stating that the area (first aid) was not includes its scope.

Dr Rajan Sharma, President of the Indian Medical Association, protesting against allowing Ayurvedic doctors to perform more than 50 surgeries like allopathic doctors, said: “This does not seem like a healthy trend where non-medical universities offer medical courses, even if they are short-term. The Indian Medical Association has also been running such training programs for some time. IMA is not against Ayush systems either; the body, however, has the problem of trivializing modern medicine. There should be no mixing of streams. You will end up in a mess, with our future generations suffering in the long run. It will also indirectly promote charlatanism. “

The National Medical Commission (NMC), which has replaced MCI to regulate medical education, declined to comment as the issue was from another ministry. Sahu said that FACI registered with the corporate affairs ministry under the Companies Law in October, a few weeks before the course was ready for promotion.

Interestingly, the university formed the First Aid Council of India, an autonomous body that it claims works to promote first aid treatment in India. An advertisement for the program, with photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, claims that FACI is opening a research center on the Bhopal university campus to promote national health.

FACI President Shabab Aalam declined to comment through a representative.

Opposing the course, Madhya Pradesh additional director of the National Health Mission (NHM) and former director of medical health (CMHO), Bhopal, Dr. Pankaj Shukla, said: “The response of the Medical Council or the ministry of Ayush that the course does not meet your competition does not mean that the course can be run without your permission. The university must get permission from the medical education directorate (state government) for the course and from CMHO to run the first aid center because it is a medical course. “

He also said that anyone who opens a first aid center without possessing the required qualifications would be committing a crime. “If these graduates open their own first aid center anywhere in the country, they would be sent behind bars for violating the Law of Clinical Establishment. The university promotes charlatanism. “

Anil Saumitra, a former faculty member at the university and now a professor at the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Amravati, said that the university was being forced to launch such courses to stay afloat. “The university started with the vision of promoting Hindi by developing different Raj Bhasha (state language) courses.” But due to improper planning, an engineering program failed to get off the ground, he said.

“Now, the university faces an existential (financial) crisis and is forced to start those courses,” he added.

Despite repeated calls and messages, Vice Chancellor Bhardwaj could not be reached for comment.

(With input from Rythma Kaul in New Delhi)

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