India has only 938,861 registered allopathic doctors or just seven doctors per 1,000 people, according to a report released by health minister J.P. Nadda on Tuesday.
The report, prepared by the Central Bureau for Health Intelligence (CBHI), states Maharashtra and Bihar have the worst doctor to patient ratios, with each doctor serving 27,790 and 28,391 patients, respectively. Chhattisgarh is a close third with a doctor to patient ratio of 1 is to 25,032.
The number of qualified allopathic doctors registered with state medical councils or Medical Council of India (MCI) nearly halved to less than 16,000 in 2014. The data for 2014 is provisional. The number of registered dental surgeons, on the other hand, has been on a steady rise since 1994. In the capital, each allopathic doctor serves 2,203 patients while a dental surgeon caters to 64,398 patients.
India also has 154,000 dental surgeons and 737,000 Ayush doctors, meaning those that practise alternative medicine systems such as Ayurveda and Homeopathy, according to the report. India’s 400 medical colleges produce approximately 47,000 doctors each year. Maharashtra had the highest number of registered doctors at 148,575 closely followed by Tamil Nadu at 102,328 while Arunachal Pradesh had the least at 510.
One government hospital bed serves 1,833 people on an average. The worst ratios are in Bihar (8,789) and Jharkhand (6,052). According to the report, there are 20,306 hospitals which have 675,779 beds in the country. There are 183,602 beds in rural areas and the urban areas have 492,177 beds.
The Centre’s share of public expenditure on health, which has been extremely low as a share of its GDP, has fallen over the last two years. Among all states, undivided Andhra Pradesh had the highest public expenditure on health in 2012-13.
The state also has the highest number of auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) – 134,694- working while the number is a dismal 641 in Arunachal Pradesh. The seven states in the northeast and Goa 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. Amongst states, Kerala spends the most privately on health.