09/10/2012, 00.00
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Stopping the brain drain, India recalls its doctors from the U.S.

The Indian Ministry of Health no longer grants certificates "with no obligation to return" to overseas students. Once they graduate, only 30% of Indians returns home. India has a doctor every 2 thousand patients, the U.S. one in every 469.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The Indian Ministry of Health is suspending certificates "with no obligation to return", which allow medical residents studying in the U.S. to remain overseas after graduation. The ministry thus attempts to stop the brain drain, which in the last three years has counted 3 thousand future doctors. Too many, considering that India has one doctor for every 2 thousand people, and the U.S. one doctor for every 469 patients. According to ministry data, in 2011/2012 only 30% of graduates in the U.S. has since returned to India.

The NORI ("under no obligation to return to India") is a compulsory certificate for Indian doctors who want to settle in the United States, once they have completed their nine years of training. Ironically, before the departure of a student, the U.S. called on the Ministry of Health (of all countries in the developing world, ed) to compile a "statement of need" certificate, stating "the student is being allowed to go and study medicine in the US because he is required to return and serve India".

In addition to the suspension of NORI, the Indian government is studying guidelines, which should be submitted by January 2013, but should apply to students already in foreign residency programs.

To increase the labor force, the government recently amended the National Council of Human Resources in Health Bill, which allows physicians to hold the Overseas Citizens of India Card to work in India. At present, the country has a density of 0.5 doctors per 1000 citizens. The Medical Council of India intends to reduce the imbalance between doctor and patient to a doctor per 1000 people, by 2031.


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