Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 24, 2020
With the number of COVID-19 cases nearly the 5 lakh mark across India, state governments are pulling in Rural/Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) to help deal with the rising infection.
RMPs are individuals who have years of experience working with health professionals but have ‘no medical qualification’. They are known to set up healthcare practices in villages and rural areas in India. This is attributed to lack of medical services in rural areas as qualified doctors prefer towns and city hospitals.
In Andhra Pradesh, medical and health professionals are opposing the state government’s engagement with RMPs and described it as quackery. Srikakulam District Collector J Nivas had a meeting with RMPs on Monday and asked them to assist district health officials to keep track of the patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
Dr N Deepchand, AP Junior Doctors’ Association President, expressed concerns about the engagement. He said RMPs are only qualified to administer injections, perform first aid or supervise intake of medicines. “But on ground, they are often found treating all kinds of diseases and indiscriminately prescribing pills to patients who visit them,” he said. Dr Sanjeev Singh, Telangana state secretary, Indian Medical Association, also expressed similar views. He said RMPs often tend to be quacks. Singh said they have no official recognition from any medical authority or organization.
Andhra Pradesh Government Doctors Association State Convenor Dr Jayadheer said the government’s move has only burdened onto the doctors. He revealed that government doctors at the Primary Health Center level are in turn being asked to monitor RMPs in their vicinity. Jayadheer said they have to log information on the RMPs and their own patients on the health department’s app. He added that this has been going on for more than a month now.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has revealed loopholes and inadequacies of the public health systems across the country, particularly in terms of human resources. But state governments have to understand that they cannot put the common man’s live at risk.