India Lacks in Doctor-Patient Ratio as Per Who Norms of 1:1000

Anju Bisht

, News

The government told Parliament, based on the current population estimate of 135 crore- there is 1 doctor for every 1,445 Indians. Which is not okay as per the WHO’s prescribed norm of one doctor for 1,000 people. Ashwini Choubey, Union Minister of State for Health said, a total of 11,59,309 allopathic doctors were registered with the state medical councils and the Medical Council of India (MCI) as on March 31.


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The minister added it was estimated that around 9.27 lakh doctors were available for active service based on the assumption of 80% availability. Which put the allopathic doctor-patient ratio at 1:1445.


Choubey said, assuming an 80% availability, there were 7.88 lakh Ayurveda, Unani and homeopathy (AUH) doctors in the country. About 6.30 lakh doctors practicing traditional systems of medicine were available for service. Considering them with allopathic doctors, the doctor-patient ratio got to 1:860.


However, in this regard, the ratio suggested by the World Health Organisation (WHO) was 1:1000.


As a response to action taken to address the shortage of doctors, the minister highlighted that public health and hospitals are a state matter. The state government has the primary responsibility to provide healthcare facilities to the citizens.


The steps that were taken by the health ministry to optimize the number of doctors and specialists in the country include:


  • Increasing the number of seats in the under-graduate and post-graduate levels at various medical educational institutes and medical colleges across the country.
  • Encouraging doctors to work in remote and difficult areas.
  • The government also encourages the states to adopt flexible norms for engaging specialists at the public health facilities by various mechanisms under the National Health Mission (NHM).
  • To attract specialists negotiable salaries were offered, including flexibility in strategies such as “you quote, we pay”.
  • Financial support for giving performance-based incentives, accommodation and transport facilities in rural and remote areas, sponsoring training programs (to address the issue of shortage of doctors and specialists), etc.
  • The states and Union territories were supported in terms of hard area allowance for specialist doctors who served in rural and remote areas, also for their residential quarters.
  • Additionally, putting the transparent policies of posting and transfer, and ensure a rational deployment of doctors was advised to the states.


The vacant post at the health facilities was time to time filled up by the respective state or Union territory, said Choubey.


Under the NHM, the states and Union territories were provided financial and technical support to strengthen their healthcare systems. Also including in-sourcing or engagement of doctors, specialist doctors, and other staff on a contractual basis and to improve other facilities in government hospitals as per the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS), informed minister.


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