The World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) has granted the Indian National Medical Commission (NMC) long-awaited ten-year recognition, allowing medical professionals to practice and train in countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
As a result of this recent recognition, all 706 existing medical colleges will attain WFME accreditation, and any new medical colleges established in the next decade will automatically receive WFME accreditation.
Dr Yogender Malik, a member of the Ethics and Medical Registration Board at NMC, on this landmark achievement said, “The WFME's recognition underscores that the quality of medical education in India adheres to the gold standards. This accolade empowers our students with the opportunity to pursue their careers anywhere in the world, while also making India an attractive destination for international students due to our globally recognized standards''.
While NMC officials believe this will firm up the international reputation of Indian medical schools and professionals worldwide, Indian students claim that this will not change much.
Arpit Jain, a student enrolled at Lady Hardinge Medical College, New Delhi says, “The situation doesn't change for aspirants planning to move to countries like the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Most of these countries require additional tests and even postgraduate training (eg. USA) before you can actually be licensed to practice there.”
Arpit argues that with WFME accreditation, students have recently become eligible to apply for these tests, which was previously not the case. " Due to this change in policy, WFME accreditation became a necessary step to take these tests (which people were already taking without this accreditation since it wasn't a requirement earlier). So nothing much changed. If you are a doctor in India and want to practice overseas, you must still meet all of the same conditions such as sitting for USMLE, PLAB and other overseas licensure exams as previously."
"I don't understand how this is different from what has already been in place," says Dr. Sugna Divakar Prabhu, Internal Medicine trainee at Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry.
"For years, Indian doctors have been needed to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) and apply for an American medical residency. Almost every college was WFME accredited, with only a few exceptions remaining. It now simply lets all medical colleges affiliated with NMC participate in overseas medical licensing exams."
What is the WFME?
The World Federation for Medical Education is a non-governmental organization that oversees the smooth operation of medical institutes worldwide, ensuring the quality of education and infrastructure provided at all WFME-accredited institutes.
For medical students to practice or train in medicine in countries other than their own, they must hold a degree from a WFME-accredited medical institution. This requirement had previously posed challenges for Indian medical graduates seeking to practice medicine outside of India, limiting their options to Asian and African countries.
How does the recognition help?
The WFME recognition process incurs a cost of $60,000 (Rs 4,98,5142) for each medical college, covering expenses related to on-site inspections, team travel, and lodging during evaluations. This recognition aims to enhance the international standing and reputation of Indian medical institutions, ultimately improving the quality of education provided at accredited Indian medical colleges.