Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs): A parallel support to the medical professionals in the COVID Crisis

We all are well aware of the present-day health crisis faced by the country. With an unfulfilled shortage of infrastructural, technical, and human resources, among the leading hospitals. But more devastating is the fact that a huge number of hospitals and caring homes, which have all the necessary appliances but do not have trained professionals to use them, and hence the machines, which can potentially save lives, are lying as scrap.

There seems to be a ubiquitous shortage of trained medical staff all over the country. The healthcare staff is working every day, but they are still unable to provide the required and satisfactory assistance to the ones in need. India’s response to Covid has been crippled by an acute shortage of medical staff—doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians. For the record, the country has 37.6 health workers for every 10,000 people. The WHO (World Health Organization) benchmark is a minimum 44.5.

The handful of medical staff is concerning and forces us to reflect on what went wrong. Is it because we don’t have enough people to aid our crumbling healthcare system? Certainly not. India is home to more than 136.64 crores of people. The age pyramid of India is the constructive type of a strong base, with more youngsters and a well-balanced population density of various age groups. Almost 65% of the population is below the age of 35. That means that there are enough human resources available in the country.

With such grand numerals why are there such a limited number of doctors in the country?

Because of the working mechanism of the country. Sure enough, medicine is a profession of quality so under no circumstances it should be compromised. This is the reason why the Government of India has made specific eligibility criteria for studying and practicing the profession in India. With a limited number of seats available in the government medical universities, most of the students who qualify NEET prefer to study medicine abroad. When these students complete their studies, they are referred to as the Foreign Medical Graduates (FMGs). These FMGs are required to qualify for the Foreign Medical Graduate Exam (FMGE) which is a screening as well as a licensing exam to practice in India. At present, there are lakhs of FMGs currently available as an immediate help to the country for combating the pandemic.

The public health care system is in urgent need of reformation from top to bottom at every level. 

Lakhs of FMGs are potentially enriched with the skills required in the present times, and are sitting idle in their homes. Their years of study and skills are wasted. They wish to come and join the fight against the virus, serving their nation. They are willing to be used as assistance for the exhausted doctors, nurses, and health care workers. What they want in exchange is just an opportunity to use their knowledge and skills to serve their country. 

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