There is always a need to talk about the disparity between the number of doctors and patients in India. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Government of India has 7 doctors per 10,000 populations.
However, a study published in the Indian Journal of Public Health reports 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.
“There are many factors to be calculated for this data to be perfectly accurate, according to me. This study may not have included the AYUSH doctors. Such studies should be deeply studied. Moreover, a lot of these doctors again may be urban based,” said Dr Ravi Wankhedkar, President elect, Indian Medical Association.
One of the interesting findings in the study says, according to the State Medical Councils’ registration data, Maharashtra alone accounted for 14% of the total stock of doctors, while other populated and comparatively backward states such as Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan accounted for a little more than 3% each in 2015.
“In the urban areas there is no problem in terms of doctors, but the rural areas are where we should reach out. Deficiency in the rural areas is very visible,” said Dr Yashovardhan Kabra, ex- President Central MARD and advisor to Central MARD (Medical Association and Resident Doctors’), Public health expert, KEM hospital.