National Health Mission sops to doctors for taking up practice in rural hinterland

National Health Mission offers incentives to lure medical practitioners to take up work in remote areas.

A push towards encouraging doctors to take up practice in rural and remote areas of the country is being made by the National Health Mission (NHM), functioning under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. As part of the plan, NHM is now extending a slew of incentives and honorariums to lure medical practitioners to take up work in the rural hinterland.

As public health and hospitals are state subjects, all matters related to the strengthening of the healthcare system are the responsibility of the state and Union UT Governments. This includes the rural areas too. It is also a known fact that the National Health Mission provides financial and technical support to the states and Union Territories to boost their healthcare systems including support for recruitment of doctors based on the requirements posed by them in their Programme Implementation Plans (PIPs). 

National Health Mission incentives to doctors

As per this, NHM is now offering incentives to doctors so that they would take up practice in rural and remote areas of the country. The NHM incentives extended in this bid include, a hard area allowance to specialist doctors for serving in rural and remote areas and for their residential quarters so that they find it attractive to serve in public health facilities in such areas.

Besides, the NHM is also offering honorarium to gynaecologists, emergency obstetric care (EmoC) trained pediatricians and Anesthetists, life-saving anesthesia skills (LSAS)-trained doctors, in an effort to increase availability of specialists for conducting Cesarean sections in rural and remote areas of the country. Special incentives for doctors, incentives for auxiliary nursing midwifery for ensuring timely antenatal care check-ups and recording, incentives for conducting adolescent reproductive and sexual health activities, are also offered.

The National Health Mission also has permitted states to offer negotiable salaries to attract specialists. Non-monetary incentives such as preferential admission in post graduate courses for staff serving in difficult areas and improving accommodation arrangement in rural areas have also been introduced under NHM.

Skill upgradation of existing resources

Multi-skilling of doctors is supported under NHM to overcome the shortage of specialists. Skill upgradation of existing HR is another major strategy under National Rural Health Mission for achieving improvement in health outcomes.

According to Dr. Bharti Pravin Pawar, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, as per Section (51) of the NMC Act, 2019, the regulations of National Medical Commission of India provide for incentive of marks at the rate of up to 10 percent for each year service in rural, remote or difficult areas of the state and a maximum up to 30 percent in NEET (PG) for admission to PG medical courses. Further, 50 percent medical diploma seats are reserved for the in-service medical doctors of the state governments, who have served in remote and difficult areas.

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