National Health Profile highlights poor doctor-patient ratio

‘India spends less of its GDP on health than some of the world’s poorest countries’

September 22, 2015 11:32 pm | Updated July 31, 2016 04:47 am IST - NEW DELHI:

: In the absence of beds, the patients in the maternity ward of the Government Hospital of Chitradurga are laying on floor.

: In the absence of beds, the patients in the maternity ward of the Government Hospital of Chitradurga are laying on floor.

Every government hospital serves an estimated 61,000 people in India, with one bed for every 1833 people, new official data shows. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, every government hospital serves over 3 lakh patients while in Bihar, there is only one bed for every 8800 people.

Union Minister for Health J.P. Nadda released the National Health Profile 2015 prepared by the Central Bureau for Health Intelligence (CBHI) on Tuesday along with officials of the Ministry, the Directorate General of Health Services and the CBHI.

Every government allopathic doctor serves a population of over 11,000 people, with Bihar and Maharashtra having the worst ratios. The number of qualified allopathic doctors registered with medical councils fell in 2014 to 16,000, or less than half the previous year’s number; the data was however provisional, CBHI officials said. India now has cumulatively 9.4 lakh allopathic doctors, 1.54 lakh dental surgeons, and 7.37 lakh AYUSH doctors of whom more than half are Ayurvedic doctors. India’s 400 medical colleges admit an estimated 47,000 students annually.

The Centre’s share of total public expenditure on health has fallen over the last two years, and India spends less of its GDP on health than some of the world’s poorest countries. Among all States, undivided Andhra Pradesh had the highest public expenditure on health in 2012-13. Goa and the north-eastern States spent the most on health per capita while Bihar and Jharkhand spent the least.

Out-of-pocket private expenditure on health has risen steadily over the years, with the cost of medicines, followed by that of hospitalisation accounting for the largest share of the household expenditure. Absolute spending, as well as its share in total non-food expenditure, rises with income levels. Kerala spends the most privately on health.

Communicable diseases

Deaths from most communicable diseases have been falling steadily in India. Despite recording over 10 lakh cases, deaths from malaria are officially down to just over 500 annually; Odisha accounted for over one in three cases of malaria in 2014. The number of recorded chikungunya cases has fallen since a 2010 outbreak, but Maharashtra accounts for nearly half of all cases. Just over 40,000 cases of dengue were officially reported in 2014 and 131 deaths. While the number of cases of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease has risen every year to 1.16 crore in 2014, mortality from the disease has been steadily declining.

However, 2014 saw a sharp spike in cases and deaths due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, a disease concentrated in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Assam, and West Bengal. Japanese Encephalitis, concentrated in Assam and Uttar Pradesh also rose last year. Pulmonary tuberculosis remains the biggest communicable disease killer in India, accounting for over 63,000 deaths in 2014. Since disease data is largely reported from government health facilities only, it is likely to be heavily underestimated, CBHI officials said.

Non-communicable diseases are on the rise with cardiovascular diseases according for a quarter of deaths from non-communicable diseases and cancer accounting for six per cent.

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