Medical ethics course in women's health in India
3 December 2007
UCL's Dr Shanthi Muttukrishna and Dr Ray Noble have won a grant to set up a medical ethics course with special emphasis on women's rights to reproductive health at the Alluri Sitarama Raju Academy of Medical Sciences (ASRAMS) in Andra Pradesh, India. The project forms part of the UCL Institute for Women's Health International Initiative.
The initiative in ethics in women's health in collaboration with staff at the academy will also support research into ethical issues such as informed consent and access to healthcare. Materials for the course will also benefit UCL students with the potential for developing internationally based special study projects and encouraging global citizenship.
Dr Muttukrishna and Dr Noble received the grant to establish the course from the UK-India Education Research Initiative, which is funding the project through its continuing professional development scheme. Dr Noble says: "The WHO working with the Medical Council of India (MCI) is seeking to establish ethics teaching as an integral part of the medical curriculum in India. The long-term aim is to gain recognition for the course from the MCI, and to set up similar programmes in other medical schools."
Dr Muttukrishna adds: "According to the World Health Organisation, reproductive healthcare is a major factor in the wellbeing of women worldwide and poor access to such care is a major cause of maternal death and morbidity. We chose to work with ASRAMS because it is situated in a semi-rural location. Their specialists are involved in 'rural village health camps' where patients are treated daily and complicated cases are transferred to the hospital for further investigation. Most gynaecological services are offered free of cost for poor women."
Working with the staff at ASRAMS, Ray and Shanthi plan to achieve a sustainable change in the community over three to five years, in line with the UCL Institute for Women's Health's International Initiative, which works with partners in Less Economically Developed countries, including Uganda, Nigeria and South Africa. Funding has also been obtained for staff at the academy to visit the institute.
To find out more about the UCL Institute for Women's Health, use the link at the top of the article.
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