Medical Admissions 2020-21

Medical Admissions 2020-21

Now, MBBS students will get lessons in gender sensitivity

PUBLISH DATE 26th November 2017

Maha 1st State To Inculcate Issue in Med Curriculum

Be it man, woman or transgender, a state-wide effort has begun to ensure doctors treat all with equal sensitivity.

“Gender sensitivity” will be integrated into medical textbooks from this academic year, said department of medical education and research (DMER) officials on Saturday. Maharashtra would become the first state in India to integrate gender concerns into the MBBS curriculum. “As firstyear MBBS classes started only a couple of months ago, there is enough time to include gender sensitivity into the curriculum,” said DMER chief Dr Pravin Shingare.

A year later, DMER officials will invite medical education officials from all other states to talk about their effort. “When I studied medicine, textbooks said contraceptives should be given to married women. But today, the statement needs to be updated,” said Dr Shingare. Medical students will be told to not enquire about awoman’s marital status when she asks about contraceptives.

As a part of the exercise, heads of departments and professors from gynaecology, forensic science, internal medicine, community medicine, psychiatry, paediatrics and surgery departments of state-run medical colleges attended a workshop on Friday and Saturday. The wokshop was conducted by DMER, KEM Hospital, NGO Cehat and the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). “The unique aspect of this curriculum is that the entire MBBS course has been made gender sensitive unlike other efforts in the past where the topic was restricted to an introductory lecture,” said Sangeeta Rege of Cehat.

Cehat started its ‘Integration of Gender in Medical Education Project’ three years ago to sensitise medical students and healthcare professionals. A study done by Cehat among medical educators in 2015 (see box) showed lack of understanding about the relevance of gender in medical teaching, gender stereotyping of women in general and patients in particular and misconceptions about access to abortion.

The Cehat study found that psychiatry educators claimed women displayed ‘hysterical symptoms’ and ‘housewives’ in particular experienced ‘Intentional Hysterical Episodes’.

After the study and several rounds of meetings with DMER officials, a gender-sensitive curriculum was reworked. The new MBBS curriculum recently got a clearance from the academic committee of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, and will accordingly be introduced this year onwards. Dr Shingare said while state-run medical schools will be first to be trained and taught, civic-run schools and private colleges will be targeted next. “Thereafter, we will also get deemed universities in Maharashtra to follow the new modules,” he added.


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