India’s Medical Health Crisis: Not enough doctors, nurses

ForumIAS announcing GS Foundation Program for UPSC CSE 2025-26 from 26th June. Click Here for more information.

What is the News?

The Covid-19 has overburdened India’s poor healthcare system. Government has taken various initiatives to overcome it.But there is one area that doesn’t get attention which is India’s acute shortage of doctors and nurses. 

Doctors in India: 

  • Doctors in India: India had 1.16 million doctors of whom only 80% or 0.9 million were working in 2019.This results in 0.68 doctors for every 1,000 people. 
  • WHO prescribes a ratio of 1 doctor for every 1,000 people. 

How much time would it take for India to reach WHO standards?

  • In 2019-20, as many as 70,262 students graduated with a MBBS degree.If only 80% join medical work, it would take another seven years to reach the WHO standard. 
  • Moreover, even if India continues to add 1.1% to its population every year, and even if it increases MBBS seats by 5.5% each year, it will take 10 years to reach the WHO standard. 
India’s Status of Doctors when compared to other Countries: 
  • BRICS (Brazil, Russia China, and South Africa) countries average two doctors for every 1,000 people. 
  • The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has 38 members, mostly developed countries, has 3.1 doctors. 
  • On the other hand, at the current pace, India will take 32 years and 57 years to level with BRICS and OECD respectively. 
Status of Nurses in India: 
  • India had 3.24 million or 2.36 nurses per 1,000 people in 2020.The WHO prescribes three nurses per 1,000 people. 
  • Even if India adds 0.21 nurses every year, it would take two years to reach the WHO-required nurse ratio, 11 years to reach BRICS and 32 to get to the OECD ratio of 9.6 nurses per 1,000 people. 
Disparity Region and States wise: 
  • India has an average of 0.68 doctors per 1,000 people.But there is only 0.1 doctor for 1,000 people in rural India. 
  • The disparity among states is also huge.UP has increased its doctor count by 6% in the last two years and Delhi by 27%.On the other hand, Bihar did not add any nurse between 2016 and 2018. 

Source: Business Standard 

Print Friendly and PDF