Medical Council of India to update MBBS curriculum after 21 years; course will increase focus on medical ethics

The Medical Council of India (MCI) earlier this month announced that it would update the curriculum for the MBBS course and that the new curriculum would give more importance to medical ethics, communication and organ donation.

The council released a document entitled “Competency based undergraduate curriculum for the Indian medical graduate” on its website. This is the first time in about 21 years that the MBBS syllabus has been changed.

In the foreword to the document, the MCI said, ” The student should be trained to effectively communicate with patients and their relatives in a manner respectful of the patient’s preferences, values, beliefs, confidentiality and privacy and to this purpose, a book on Attitude, Ethics & Communication was prepared by the Medical Council of India; the teaching faculty of medical colleges have been receiving training on this module since 2015.”

The MCI has introduced a new course called “Attitude, Ethics and Communication (AETCOM)” with the aim of making medical professionals sensitive to “differences in thought, social and economic position and gender.” The objective of this course is also said to be preventing miscommunication between doctors and patients.

The AETCOM course is slated to be included in the first year of MBBS, India Today reported.

As per a report in The News Minute, the course may deal with questions such as: if a patient is found to have HIV-AIDS, a doctor is ethically required to inform the patient’s partner about it.

The new curriculum, which will begin from the next academic year, will also have a course to help students understand the benefits of organ donation, and will have guidelines on how to speak to patients or their families on the subject.

Significantly, the new curriculum does not list homosexuality and adultery under its section relating to sexual offences, which is a welcome change from the old curriculum.

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