For the first time in India, Rights of differently-abled people has been included in the study curriculum. The MBBS course, as suggested by the Medical Council of India shall, from now on will include the study of Disability Rights as well. The future doctors will have a sense of understanding and knowledge for the rights of differently-abled people.

The subject has been added as a 1-month foundation course. The first session of the course will be completed by 31st August 2019. The State The State Commissioner for “Persons with Disability” had directed that components of “Disability Rights legislation“ shall be incorporated in the medical curriculum.

As a result, The Medical Council Of India (MCI) followed the direction as soon developed a foundation course which included the study of Disability Rights. The course is 7 hours long and will form part of the curriculum of every medical college student’s curriculum, specifically MBBS. 

The main point of the introduction of this foundation course was that Disability was being approached as a disease or illness since the past 22 years. Students were being taught to treat and manage disability in terms of illness. This called for a change in the medical curriculum to change the perspective of medical students towards disabilities.

Past Year, in November 2018, Medical Council had introduced an education program which was based on new competencies. However, the program had no mentions or coverage about disability rights. Its scope covered the topic of “Disability: An Illness or a Physical Condition” only.

Some major medical institutes from across the country were concentrated on bringing a change in this direction. As a result, these medical institutes complained to requisite authorities. The list of the pleaders included Medical Humanities Group, College of Medical Studies (Delhi University), Bucksbaum Institute for Medical Excellence at the University of Chicago.

On March 1, 2019, the institutes collectively approached the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) and Stake Commissioner for Persons with Disability (SCD) to develop a course for disability competencies. Their main aim of the plea was to the introduction of disability rights-based approach in the MCI Curriculum.

In a conversation with Times Of India, Dr Satendra Singh of University College of Medical Science said “The statutory bodies sent our curriculum to MCI’s board of governors. They then circulated the copy of our disability competencies to deans and principles of medical institutions in India and the registrars of all universities and deemed universities in India. The direction was to strictly follow Section 39 (1) and 39 (2) (d) of the Rights of People with Disabilities Act, 2016. However, they still didn’t include disability competencies in the new curriculum.”

As a result of efforts of various institutes, councils and concerned people, finally, Disability rights are now a part of Medical Curriculum. This is a groundbreaking move because this will go on to change the perception of medical students towards Disabled people.