India: 1 doctor for 1625 patients

According to the World Health Organization, there is a need to be a doctor behind 1 thousand people. However, in India the case seems to be a little different or so, admitted Ashwini Kumar Choubey, the Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare to Lok Sabha in a written reply. Furthermore, it was informed that the Union Health Minister has a shortage of doctors and health workers in the rural India

India has only 1 doctor for 1625

Highlights of the reply: Statistics

  • India’s population: 1.33 billion
  • According to the Medical Council of India, 10, 22, 859 doctors in the country
  • It is estimated that 80 per cent of these doctors are available for medical services
  • Hence, only 1 doctor for every 1,625 people

These figures were given Choubey in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. The government has admitted to the lack of doctors and staff in order to provide medical facilities in the country, especially in rural areas. The government has given many reasons for the same.

According to the information available to the Central Government:

‘Various reasons attributed for shortage of healthcare professionals in public health facilities, particularly in rural areas include overall shortage of healthcare professionals in the country, feeling of professional isolation among healthcare professionals, and unwillingness on their part to work in rural areas,’ read the reply.

Abhijit More, Conveynor of Jan Aarogya Abhiyan, a Pune based NGO said, “According to the WHO, there should be one doctor per every 1000 people. We are yet to achieve this goal. Also, it is important to see the location that these doctors offer their services. Majority serve in urban areas and the doctor patient ratio in rural India remains poor.”

A study published in the Indian Journal of Public Health recently reported that there were only 4.8 practicing doctors per 10,000 populations available in India in 2014.

“There were 600,031 doctors available for practice in India in 2014 to serve its 1239 million population with a doctor‑population ratio of just 4.84 per 10,000 people. This ratio is significantly lower than what has been published in the World Health Statistics 2015 as 7 per 10,000 populations for 2007–2013. This is because the Medical Councils’ registry hasn’t been updated yet and a lot of doctors have either migrated or retired,” said Dr Basant Potnuru, Associate Professor of Economics and Business Policy at FORE School of Management, New Delhi who conducted the survey told My Medical Mantra.

The study explains, to achieve a moderate doctor‑population ratio of 1:1000 by 2030, the country would need to have a registered stock of 2,074,350 doctors by then, so as to make available 1,476,000 active doctors after deductions made on account of retired and emigrated doctors in 2030.