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Medical research: Why is there no encouragement?

Indian medical colleges produce many doctors year after year but hardly any medical researchers. According to a study conducted by the medical journal Lancet, over 57 percent of medical colleges did not publish a single research paper between 2005 and 2014. In this article, we look at the lack of the growth of medical research in India.

With so many candidates pursuing medicine, it’s hard to believe that there is no growth in the field of medical research. The reasons why medical research is not encouraged so much in India can be attributed to the following:

    1. Lack of funds and proper infrastructure:

      Lack of funds is one of the major reasons why many medical students abstain from research. Most government colleges and hospitals are poorly funded or they have to spend their funds on other equally serious problems like improving their infrastructure or the quality of healthcare for their patients. Only a few colleges are given sufficient funds or have the proper infrastructure for cutting-edge research.

    2. Lack of awareness:

      Often, there is a lack of awareness about the type of research or the fact that it has to be published. Many negative results are not published because of the belief that it is not as important. Research students or doctors conducting research are also not given proper recognition. This, coupled with the uncertainty of the results, and seeing their peers earning a huge salary, often makes them lose interest in the field.

    3. High population:

      The high population of India means that there is an overwhelming rate at which hospitals have to take in patients. This leads to a shortage of doctors and often burdens medical colleges, thereby preventing them from producing valuable research material. Doctors would rather tend to patients with life-threatening ailments rather than devote their time discovering something new.

These were some of the generic reasons. However, there are also some underlying causes that are difficult to navigate through. We have listed these here:

  1. Lure of money and material wealth:

    In the present socio-economic scenario, where the emphasis is on material needs and accumulation of wealth, it is hardly surprising that students would not want to devote their time on research which nobody appreciates ,when they could be earning lakhs of rupees otherwise. This has resulted in a wane of students who want to pursue research.

  2. Corruption at medical schools:

    Many of the Indian medical colleges are accused of rigging entrance examinations, taking bribes or cheating, which results in the decline of the quality of students getting admission. The Indian Medical Association estimates that nearly half of those who practise medicine in the country do not have formal training or are not qualified. As a result, the amount and the quality of research conducted also takes a hit.

In a country where overpopulation results in the death of thousands of people from preventable and treatable diseases, and corruption is widely practised, doctors find little motivation to conduct quality research without the proper motivation, funds or infrastructure. You can’t really blame the students then, for opting out of medical research. With the initiation of the NEET, a lot of the red tape seems to be targeted, and maybe, just maybe we can see a future where India and medical research don’t seem alien when said in the same sentence.

Although there is a dearth in the field of medical research in India at the moment, that doesn’t mean that it has no scope in the future. Read more about the scope of medical research in this article.


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