Working experience in rural health centres will be made mandatory for the medical graduates passing out of colleges to become eligible for applying postgraduate courses in medical sciences, it is learnt. The Union health ministry is seriously considering a term of one-year rural service to the medical graduates on completion of their courses after house surgency.

While commenting on changes in curriculum, Union health minister Dr Anbumoni Ramadoss said that on successful completion of graduation with one-year house surgency, another term of one year must be spent for research in some specialized area. If the medical graduates opt for higher study, they will be eligible to apply after one year's service in some rural areas. Through this, the Ministry aims to extend quality healthcare to the people of the lower strata. The minister was participating in a function at the Madras Medical College, in Chennai.

The Minister said earlier he had to take much pain to pacify and convince the young medical practitioners who were protesting against the Ministry's proposal to make one year compulsory rural internship by the graduates passing out of colleges. The students had then protested against making the course of five-and-a-half years to six-and-a-half.

"For getting experience, grasping ethics, creating dedication and for a time-bound health care to the village people, the beginners in the field should work in the rural areas," the minister said while recalling his two years medical practice in an interior village in Dindukkal district in Tamil Nadu.

He said a sum of Rs 1850 crore was spent for Tamil Nadu through National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). In India, Tami Nadu is the only state where caesarean operation is being conducted in a rural PHC.

Indian Systems of Medicine is also a priority area. Integration of ISM is a necessity of the present day world. "Harward and Hopkins can do, then why not we. We should take the best out of everything," the minister said.

He said the curriculum of the courses should also be changed to that of research-oriented one. The change is the need of the hour as India needs more doctors and Para-medical staff. Clinical Research labs will be set up in government hospitals and the drugs and food Labs will be modernized, Dr Ramadoss said.