Shortage of Doctors in India

The report by the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in the US has made the following observations about the healthcare system in India:

  • India has a shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses.
  • Lack of properly trained staff to administer antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing life-saving drugs.
  • Even when antibiotics are available, patients are often unable to afford them.
  • Further unqualified doctors prescribing antibiotics in improper amounts to the patients can be harmful or expensive for them.
  • About 65% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket in India.
  • These outrageous health-related expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty every year. Even though the government has launched various initiatives to provide treatment to citizens for free or at nominal charges, India is yet to achieve its highest potential in terms of healthcare.
  • There is one government doctor for every 10,189 people in India against the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendation of having a ratio of 1:1,000 doctors to patients.
  • The nurse to patient ratio is 1:483 which implies a shortage of two million nurses.

The report attributes the sorry state of health affairs to the low expenditure on healthcare by the government. Further, the report states that with the government increasing its healthcare budget and corporates coming forward to improve the healthcare scenario, the situation is slowly but surely changing. However, due to the lack of awareness among the citizens about various initiatives, there is still a long way to go for the combined effort to pay off the dividends of it.



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