With only 33% govt doctors in rural India, ‘health for all’ is a tough task

The doctor to population ratio is really poor in India.
Indian healthcare system is plagued with numerous problems and in the already existing long list, one old-problem has again come to fore with the latest report of Central Bureau of Health Intelligence's National Health Profile (NHP) 2013.

The NHP 2013 report has revealed that in our country only 33 per cent of Government doctors are available in the rural areas where nearly 70 per cent of our population lives. In terms of figures, only 29,562 of India's 1,06,613 government doctors work in villages.

As per the data, India has 9,18,303 doctors in the government and private sector for 1.21 billion people, but most of them choose to work in urban areas.

It is said that "health is wealth"; but in India, health is getting increasingly unaffordable. The new dispensation has also started its efforts to work on the daunting task of better healthcare for the people.

Union Health Minister, Harsh Vardhan said, "To achieve the ‘health for all' goal, we need to have all possible health sector numbers handy to ensure the target is met at the earliest. I plan to assign a senior person as nodal officer in each state to supervise the work progress."

Rural reluctance- the biggest challenge

Rural Health care is one of biggest challenge in India. With more than 70 percent of population living in rural areas and low level of health facilities add more to the problem.

As per gramvaani, "Healthcare is the right of every individual but lack of quality infrastructure, dearth of qualified medical functionaries, and non- access to basic medicines and medical facilities thwarts its reach to 60% of population in India. A majority of 700 million people lives in rural areas where the condition of medical facilities is deplorable.

Only 33% govt docs in rural areas, where 70% of India lives

There is a dire need of new practices to ensure that quality healthcare reaches the deprived corners of the Indian villages. In rural India, where the number of Primary health care centers (PHCs) is limited, 8% of the centers do not have doctors or medical staff, 39% do not have lab technicians and 18% PHCs do not even have a pharmacist."

Preference to work in private sector

As per a report of newindianexpress, "India produces 30,000 doctors, 18,000 specialists, 30,000 AYUSH graduates, 54,000 nurses, 15,000 ANMs and 36,000 pharmacists annually. According to Medical Council of India (MCI) data, 31,866 new MBBS doctors were registered during the year 2009-2010 and 34,595 students were admitted in 300 colleges for the academic year 2009-2010.

The shortage of doctors in government hospitals is also attributed to the factors such as preference to work in private hospitals, and study and work abroad."

Why rural reluctance?

With least of facilities and equipments in rural India, how can one expect doctors to get posted in such areas? To encourage more doctors in rural areas, better basic amenities like water electricity alongwith others like medical facilities and equipment will be few factors which will help solving this problem.

Though a lot of policies and programs are being run by the Government but problem is due to gaps in the implementation of the same, because of which the success and effectiveness of such programs is questionable.

The recommended WHO guidelines suggest that there should be 1 doctor for every 600 people. But as per reports, at present the ratio is 1: 1800. If health for all is to be achieved then this ratio needs to be improved with better medical facilities in rural as well as in urban India.

As the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced four new All India Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and 12 new Government colleges to bring down the costs of health services, all one can hope is that the rising burden of diseases comes down and availability of doctors increases.

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