Now, MBBS students will get lessons in gender sensitivity

MUMBAI: Be it man, woman or transgender, a state-wide effort has begun to ensure doctors treat all with equal sensitivity.

"Gender sensitivity" will be integrated into medical textbooks from this academic year, said department of medical education and research (DMER) officials on Saturday. Maharashtra would become the first state in India to integrate gender concerns into the MBBS curriculum. "As first-year MBBS classes started only a couple of months ago, there is enough time to include gender sensitivity into the curriculum," said DMER chief Dr Pravin Shingare.

A year later, DMER officials will invite medical education officials from all other states to talk about their effort. "When I studied medicine, textbooks said contraceptives should be given to married women. But today, the statement needs to be updated," said Dr Shingare. Medical students will be told to not enquire about a woman's marital status when she asks about contraceptives.

As a part of the exercise, heads of departments and professors from gynaecology, forensic science, internal medicine, community medicine, psychiatry, paediatrics and surgery departments of state-run medical colleges attended a workshop on Friday and Saturday.

The wokshop was conducted by DMER, KEM Hospital, NGO Cehat and the UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). "The unique aspect of this curriculum is that the entire MBBS course has been made gender sensitive unlike other efforts in the past where the topic was restricted to an introductory lecture," said Sangeeta Rege of Cehat.