Times of India
By , Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi , India
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 12th and 13th five–year Plan to achieve the target. HLEG estimates 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).
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