February 18, 2020
In the wake of Medical Council of India stripping the specialist tag of over 1700 post-graduate Diploma holders in Clinical Cardiology (PGDCC) course from Indira Gandhi National Open University between 2006-13, the experts in the health fraternity are outraged and have written to Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare.
Indian Association of Clinical Cardiologists in a letter to the Union Health Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, have brought to the notice in bringing PGDCC into the mainstream as large number of clinical cardiologists, would become available at a time when the burden of cardiovascular disease is progressively increasing.
The two year PGDCC course was not a distance-education course but a full time in-house resident training program similar to any other MCI recognised diploma in the country. The said course was conducted after an all-India entrance exam in 77 tertiary care hospitals including many teaching government medical colleges in India.
The PGDCC course was conducted along with DM and DNB cardiology program and teaching faculty remained the same for both PGDCC and DNB/DM cardiology. The PGDCC curriculum and syllabus was designed by the famous cardiology Professor, Dr.George Cherian who was instrumental in the launching of DM cardiology course in India. MCI’s major objection was over the evaluation of the training program in accordance with the MCI Act 1956. MCI claims that IGNOU had not obtained the NOC before starting the course.
Dr Rajesh Rajan, *Chairman – IACC Board of Governors* said, “It is an irony that MCI is snatching the tag of specialist from PGDCC cardiologist on extremely bizarre grounds. The government of India along with IGNOU launched this diploma course. The then Union Health Minister Dr.Anbumoni Ramdoss inaugurated this course. Now they say that this course is not recognized. University Grant Commission in a notification in 1992 says that the certificates, diplomas and degrees awarded by IGNOU are to be treated equivalent to the corresponding awards of the universities in the country.
Dr. Rajan says, "On one hand government of India launched historic projects like 'Ayushman Bharat' to help the poor and needy and on the other hand MCI destroys the government project by not giving recognition to PGDCC doctors, of which the majority are working in Rural India and practicing preventive cardiology. Indians have realised that prevention is much better than cure. When the country needs 88000 thousand cardiologists to take care of our entire population according to world health organization (WHO) standards with great empathy we in India have only 4000+ cardiologists including PGDCC doctors. Prime Minister and Health minister should question the intention of MCI to destroy the Rural health sector of India. IACC submitted a project named *Mission Early Detection and effective management of cardiovascular diseases in rural India-* 'MEDIA' i.e. to start a cardiac ICU in all 600 districts in India especially rural India and to make use of this 1706 clinical cardiology specialists".
In the letter by IACC, it is stated that as per the honorable High court vide its judgment dated 17.09.2019, it is an unjustified act by the MCI; it may suffice to state that, in any event, the MCI, and the union of India cannot seek to piggyback on the 2000 Regulations, which states that ‘an institution intending to start a Postgraduate Medical Education course or to increase the admission capacity shall obtain prior permission of the central government under section 10A of the Act and its not applicable in the case of PGDCC.
Dr Rajesh Rajan says, “The letter says that IGNOU applied twice to GOI/MCI recognition, however, on both occasions, MCI refused to review the merit of the case by quoting 10-A and missing nomenclature and that IGNOU had not taken prior permission from MCI before starting the course under PGMER 2000, both of which have been quashed by the Honorable Delhi High Court. We are aghast by the neglectful behavior of MCI and at the same time it is a clearcut contempt of Delhi High Court.”
It is also worth mentioning the fact that a near-identical case- ‘Diploma in Cardiology’ from C.S.J.M University, G.S.V.M Medical College, Kanpur, has been recognized by MCI-BOG & it has been added to the nomenclature of the MCI very recently in September, 2019.