Certification in Tropical Medicine is similar to an advanced program for physicians – Times of India

Dr. Nishith Kumar is a 39-year-old General Medicine Practitioner from Bihar. After six years of practicing as a junior resident across various hospital departments, he was selected for the Global Health and Humanitarian Medicine Course (GHHM) conducted by Medicines Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors Without Borders. The course provides access to affordable, global education in tropical medicine, a relatively less explored specialization.

Specialization required


Dr. Nonika Rajkumari, Additional Professor, Department of Microbiology, JIPMER, Pondicherry and GHHM (South Asia) Course Coordinator (JIPMER Hat) says that tropical diseases indicate a group of diseases that are largely ignored by the medical community. “India is home to a number of tropical diseases, mostly affecting people living in rural and remote areas. If treated in time, it is possible to cure a lot of patients suffering from these diseases. Thus, there is a need to spread awareness about formal education in tropical diseases, “he said.


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Currently, tropical disease education is linked to general medical training, says Dr. Rajesh Nachippa Ganesh, Professor, Department of Pathology, JIPMER, Pondicherry. “Formal education in tropical diseases is a combination of laboratory-based diagnostic training and clinical training. In India, special training is offered in a few colleges, where students can get and receive a doctorate of medicine (DM) in infectious diseases,” he said.

A certificate course in tropical diseases is a suitable way to raise awareness and increase the interest of medical students in this field, he added.

Since 2017, MSF has been offering a ten-month Certificate Course (GHHM), says Dr. Swati Nanda, Course Coordinator, GHHM (South Asia). “MBBS students who have completed their internship and have at least two years of work experience are eligible. The course uses a combination of training approaches, including weekly webinars, real-life situation group activities and a three-day parasitological lab training program at CMC Vellore, JIPMER Pondicherry and three partner institutes of Manipal Institute of Health Education.

The Oxford Handbook of Tropical Medicine serves as the primary textbook for teaching students. “Training typically revolves around a detailed understanding of each of the tropical diseases, including the area it affects, its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options. The idea is to help students prepare to deal with patients as the course progresses.” The princess added.


As of 2021, the course had 60 seats for students from Asian countries, which will be increased to 80 this year, said Dr. Nanda. “Since 2017, a total of 128 Indian students have been a part of this course,” he added Once students complete the course, they qualify for the Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene at the Royal College of Physicians in the United Kingdom, he says.

Convenience for experts

Dr. Ganesh and Dr. Kumar agree that as experts in the field, it is highly satisfactory to be able to treat patients who may not have access to the necessary financial resources for appropriate treatment. Dr. Kumar said, “As a physician dealing with tropical diseases, it is never a problem and it is extremely gratifying to see patients treated on time.”

Dr. Ganesha adds that since most of these diseases are treatable, the high mortality rate is borne by the doctors with great satisfaction, which is lacking in various other specializations.


Dr Farhat Mantu, Director General, MSF South Asia, said: “Many mid-career physicians work in remote areas of the country with great workload and rarely get the opportunity to enhance their academic knowledge and invest in endless medical education. GHHMC brings high-quality, flexible and mixed experiential learning courses for such professionals. ” It allows them to express and feel satisfied about the treatment of the neglected part of the society. The course serves as a means of upskilling for these doctors. ”


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