October 15, 2011

1 doc for 1,000 people not before 2028

India will take at least 17 more years before it can reach the World Health Organization's (WHO) recommended norm of one doctor per 1,000 people. The Planning Commission's high-level expert group (HLEG) on universal health coverage (UHC) — headed by Dr K Srinath Reddy — has predicted the availability of one allopathic doctor per 1,000 people by 2028. It has suggested setting up 187 medical colleges in 17 high-focus states during the 12and 13five-year Plan to achieve the target. HLEG estimates that the number of allopathic doctors registered with the Medical Council of India (MCI) has increased since 1974 to 6.12 lakhs in 2011 — a ratio of one doctor for 1,953 people or a density of 0.5 doctors per 1,000 people . The nation has a density of one medical college per 38.41 lakhs. There are 315 medical colleges that are located in 188 of 642 districts. There is only one medical college for a population of 115 lakhs in Bihar, UP (95 lakhs), MP (73 lakhs) and Rajasthan (68 lakhs). Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu each have one medical college for a population of 15 lakhs, 16 lakhs and 19 lakhs, respectively. The HLEG has proposed a phased addition of 187 colleges. It expects that by 2015, under phase A, 59 new medical colleges will admit students in 15 states like Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana , J&K , Jharkhand, MP, Maharashtra , Meghalaya, Orissa, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and West Bengal. By 2017, 13 of these states will have an additional 70 medical colleges, and by 2022, another 58 institutes will be built in two additional phases (2017-2020 and 2020-2022 ). By 2022, India will have one medical college per 25 lakh population in all states except Bihar, UP and West Bengal. The implementation of HLEG's recommendations will enable the additional availability of 1.2 lakh doctors by 2017, and another 1.9 lakh doctors between 2017 and 2022. "With this rate of growth, it is expected that the HLEG target of one doctor per 1,000 will be achieved by 2028," the report says. It recommends that along with establishment of new medical colleges, the admission capacities of existing colleges in the public sector should also be increased. Partnerships with the private sector should be encouraged, with conditional reservation of 50% of seats for local candidates, fixed admission fees and government reimbursement of fees for local candidates. The World Health Statistics Report (2011) says, the density of doctors in India is six for a population of 10,000. India is ranked 52 among 57 countries facing human resource crunch in healthcare. The nation has the largest number of medical colleges in the world, with an annual churning rate of over 30,000 doctors and 18,000 specialists. The average annual output is 100 graduates per medical college in comparison to 110 in North America and Central Europe (125). China, which has 188 colleges , produces 1,75, 000 doctors annually, with an average of 930 graduates per institute. Link: Original Article

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