Medical education: at what cost?
Throughout the world medical education has become increasingly expensive. Vijaya Raj Bhatt considers the repercussions for students as well as public health
The World Bank has set the international poverty line at $1 for every person a day. People considered to be living in “absolute poverty” if their income is below this line. By this measure, 1.2 billion people are currently living in absolute poverty in developing and transitional economies.1 The Human Development Index shows that even in affluent industrial countries, 7-17% of the population is poor, which adds more than 100 million people to this number.2
Although poverty is rife throughout the world, the cost of medical education remains high in developed and developing countries and is set to rise further. Research conducted by the Association of American Medical Colleges in 2004 has shown that the average tuition fees at state medical schools during the 2003–4 academic year amounted to $16 153, and the corresponding figure for private schools was $32 588. In the 1984-5 academic year, average tuition and fees