Biomedical Engineering- Ignored Profession in India

PREVIOUSLY it was considered that biomedical engineering is limited to the field of investigations and to confirming the diagnosis. But according to new research and development, it is now playing a vital role in the mode of treatment. It has completely modified the concept of treatment of many conditions from conventional to modern scientific techniques.

Therefore, biomedical engineering has proved beneficial for healthcare systems not only for investigations but also for treatment. Developed countries are making the best use of their biomedical engineers.

In India, biomedical engineering was introduced in 1975 in IIT, Delhi as  a Doctoral program. Biomedical Undergraduate programs are now in more than 70-80 colleges in India. Although it has been more than 35 years, yet, unfortunately, it has not been given much importance.

Medical doctors are said to be angels by patients as they are bound to save human life. For understanding the full cycle of human body, diseases and symptoms, they were sent to government hospitals. It is compulsory to work for one year under a professor before one is awarded an MBBS degree with a licence to practise. But without medical equipment it is difficult for patients to survive in a critical condition

Biomedical engineers may also need to require practical and technical training for better understanding of the principles of medical equipment like MBBS doctors need to understand patients’ needs.

Almost every year hundreds of students are graduating in biomedical engineering but because of unavailability of any platform, they are moving to administrative or other fields. Neither there are positions in government-run hospitals nor is there any government policy for biomedical engineers.

Now is the time to take immediate measures to have the best outcome from biomedical engineering. The public health sector is spending millions on machines used for different purposes. These machines require good maintenance for proper working which cannot be provided by anyone but biomedical engineers. That is the reason that many of our institutes have the most expensive machines but they are not in working condition.

Many biomedical engineers are working in hospitals but they are equivalent to diploma holders or lower technical staff. Some may think that biomedical engineers only install, adjust, maintain, and/or repair biomedical equipment. But this is a wrong perception. These engineers can guide hospital administrators on the planning, procurement and use of medical equipment, arrange and supervise research concerning behavioral, biological, psychological, or other life systems, conduct research with scientists, chemists and medical scientists on engineering of the biological systems of humans and animals.

They can figure out the safety, efficiency and effectiveness of biomedical equipment. Some may also teach, write, consult, and/or manage. Even after completing the graduation from recognised engineering universities, they are considered simple technicians but not engineers which is unfair.

If we talk about pay scale, the condition is even worse. Fresh graduates start their job with Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 a month which is the pay of a non-degree person.

The authorities concerned should take notice of this important issue. Biomedical engineering is becoming the nerve of the healthcare system worldwide. We have the talent. What we need is to polish our engineers by providing them a platform to work and give them due recognition in our healthcare system, which they truly deserve

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