India has a doctor crisis: here are the facts and figures
More than half of India's allopathic practitioners in 2001 were unqualified, according to the latest report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), titled The Health Workforce in India.
The report highlights the sad state of human resources in India and the facts are based on the Census 2001 data. But the inevitable question is - has the situation improved?
Here's what facts and figures say:
- Number of doctors per lakh population in India across all levels (allopathic, homeopathic, Ayurveda, Unani)
- China has 130 doctors per lakh population.
- WHO norms recommend 245 doctors per lakh population
- Unfortunately, India's number falls to 36 doctors per lakh population if we deduct those who do not have medical degrees as per the WHO report
- Estimated expansion of public education in medical, nursing and allied schools across states between 2005-2009, according to a statement given to The Hindu by T Sundaram, Dean of School of Health Systems at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences
- Additionally, there is a mushrooming of private education in this field and hence, it can be expected that the situation is much better now
- India had 398 allopathic medical colleges in India as on 2014-15, according to Central Statistical Organisation, going up from 189 in 2001.
- This more than 100% increase in the last 15 years
- Total number of allopathic doctors who are registered with the state medical councils of India, as of 2014
- Of this, just 52,666 were registered with Medical Council of India (MCI)
- This is because that admission has been increasing rapidly in India's medical colleges, from 24,690 in 2004-05 to 46,456 in 2014-15
- Estimated number of quacks practising in India as of 2009, according to a study by Association of Medical Consultants.
- Delhi accounted for 40,000 of them and Mumbai has 20,000
- Surprisingly, Andhra Pradesh has 1,50,000 quacks for 60,000 registered doctors and Maharashtra had 95,000 quacks for 90,000 registered, qualified doctors
- The biggest challenge: MCI rules imposes a fine of Rs 1,000 and one-year imprisonment for quackery. But Indian Penal Code says that it is a non-cognizable offence and therefore police cannot make arrests in such cases. Various court judgments against quackery have not translated into any law.
Though formal medical education is increasing in India, quackery is still a big menace. The lack of doctors commensurate to the burgeoning population and that leads to a big lacuna. The result is reflected in higher deaths from preventable diseases.