India's Doctor-Population Ratio Exceeds WHO Standard, Union Health Minister Informs Lok Sabha

India’s Doctor-Population Ratio Exceeds WHO Standard, Union Health Minister Informs Lok Sabha

Union Minister highlights the number of healthcare professionals and measures taken to bridge gaps in the healthcare system

New Delhi, India – In a recent update to the Lok Sabha, Union Minister of State Bharati Pravin Pawar revealed that India’s doctor-population ratio surpasses the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. The country currently boasts a ratio of one doctor for every 834 people, indicating a favorable healthcare professional distribution.

Adequate Number of Doctors and Healthcare Professionals

Union Minister Pawar informed the Lok Sabha that as of June 2022, there are 13,08,009 registered allopathic doctors in India, alongside 5.65 lakh AYUSH doctors. Additionally, the country has 34.33 lakh registered nursing personnel and 13 lakh allied and healthcare professionals. These numbers highlight the availability of a substantial workforce dedicated to providing healthcare services to the population.

Steps Taken to Bridge Gaps and Enhance Healthcare Infrastructure

To address the need for increased healthcare professionals, the Indian government has implemented various measures. The number of undergraduate (UG) seats in medical colleges has risen from 51,348 before 2014 to 91,927 at present, indicating a significant 79% increase. Furthermore, the number of postgraduate (PG) seats has also witnessed a notable rise, from 31,185 to 60,202, reflecting a remarkable 93% growth.

The government has actively encouraged the establishment of new medical colleges and the upgradation of existing ones. Through centrally sponsored schemes, 157 new medical colleges have been approved, with 72 already functioning. Additionally, 75 projects for the construction of super specialty blocks in government medical colleges have been approved, with 55 projects completed.

Efforts to Strengthen Nursing Education and Increase Nurse-Patient Ratio

The government has also focused on enhancing the nurse-patient ratio and nursing education. Relaxation of norms for nursing educational programs has been implemented, such as relaxing the student-patient ratio from 1:5 to 1:3 and reducing the land requirement for nursing educational institutes. The opening of General Nursing and Midwifery (GNM) and BSc (Nursing) programs has been made more accessible, particularly in hilly and tribal areas.

Ensuring Availability of Skilled Faculty and Streamlining Admission Criteria

Recognizing the importance of skilled faculty, the government has relaxed norms for teaching faculty in nursing programs. Eligibility criteria for admission to nursing programs have also been streamlined. Furthermore, the MoS mentioned steps taken to increase the age limit for certain positions and reduce the tenure of senior residency for Assistant Professor appointments.

Also Read: National Medical Commission Decision To Cut Ceiling For Non-MBBS Teachers Sparks Fear Of Job Losses

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