‘India on track to achieve WHO norm on doctor-population ratio’

PUDUCHERRY, 25/08/2019: Vinod Kumar Paul, Member of NITI Aayog, giving away the Gold medal and certificate to a student at the Tenth Convocation of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), held in Puducherry on Sunday. Also in the picture are (from right), Vishwa Mohan Kotoch, President and Rakesh Aggarwal, Director of JIPMER, Sudha Seshayyan, Vice Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University, Pondicherry University Vice Chancellor Gurmeet Singh and Member of Parliament V Vaithilingam. Photo: S.S. Kumar / The Hindu   | Photo Credit: S_S_KUMAR

Prof. Vinod Kumar Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, on Sunday said that India was poised to achieve the World Health Organization (WHO)-recommended doctor-population ratio of one physician for 1,000 population by 2024.

“With the efforts of the Government of India, the country would be able to achieve the WHO norm of 1 physician for 1,000 population before 2024.

“Overall, the number of doctors does not address the problem of distribution, skills and locations but nonetheless we have now a trajectory to achieve this great goal which at times looked very illusive,” he said.

Dr. Paul was speaking at the 10th convocation of the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (Jipmer) here.

Speaking after awarding degrees to candidates, he said that India needed doctors for optimum and equitable distribution and also for communities outside the nation.

“We are the greatest of the nations and we need to be contributing towards global health and economists see a great potential of eventually doctors being available for the world with India being the nursery,” he said.

Shortage of specialists

While the target of one physician for every 800 population could also be achieved anywhere between 2026 to 2030, the shortage of specialists doctors in the country was a matter of concern.

The number of specialists required as of today is five times of what is available in the country. For instance, in obstetrics and gynaecology, there are only 60,000 practising doctors but India needs 3 lakh specialists.

Similarly in paediatrics, the country has only 50,000 specialists as against the requirement of 2.5 lakh.

“Today, we have been able to conduct only 2.6 crore surgeries each year as against the requirement of 6.5 crore surgeries,” he said.

Real challenge

“This is our true challenge today. Though the government has increased the number of undergraduate seats by 15,000 in a single year, extraordinary efforts have to be taken to make a difference and address the shortage of specialists,” he added. Mr. Paul pointed out that Ayushman Bharat health scheme had effectively emerged at the core of India’s development agenda. The scheme represents a comprehensive primary health care vision, an effort which has never been undertaken before.

As many as 1,50,000 health and wellness centres are being set up for strengthening primary health centres in States and for promotive and preventive health care, he added.

V.M. Katoch, president, Jipmer; Rakesh Aggarwal, Director; Members of Parliament, V. Vaithilingam, N. Gokulakrishnan, Sudha Seshayyan, vice-chancellor of Dr. MGR Medical University and R.P. Swaminathan, dean (academic), were present.

As many as 405 students from various disciplines were awarded degrees during the convocation.

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Printable version | Oct 27, 2020 8:37:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/india-on-track-to-achieve-who-norm-on-doctor-population-ratio/article29254703.ece

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