23 December 2011

Physicians Fly Abroad; India's Healthcare Deteriorates

One doctor for every 2000 people in the country – and yet we hope for better health system in the country, aren’t we expecting too much? As the doctor-population ratio hits an all time low of 1:2000, the blame goes back to our age-old sad story of brain drain and it seems that we can do nothing but to lament over the thousands of trained physicians flying to the green pastures – the Western Countries.

 The global doctor-population ratio is 1.5:1,000. While Somalia has one of the worst ratios with one doctor for 10,000 people, Germany, U.S. and U.K. fared well in the list with 1:296, 1:350 and 1:469 respectively. Thailand’s doctor-population ratio is at 1:500, while Japan has a healthy ratio at 1:606.

According to the latest data, there are only six lakh active allopathic practitioners in India whereas it’s found that 8,56,065 allopathic doctors have been registered in the country as of July 31, 2011. The curse of brain drain is crippling the Indian medical system. The Medical Council of India (MCI) reveals that over 767 physicians have left the country in search of foreign meadows by the first half of 2011. Many have reportedly asked for Good Standing Certificates (GSC), a certificate mandatory for doctors to work abroad, issued by MCI and the medical council reportedly issues thousands of GSCs every year. GSC gives a rough estimate of how many physicians go abroad each year, although it doesn’t give the absolute numbers.

It’s reported that there are over 40,000 Indian physicians in UK while U.S. has over 50,000 doctors. Nearly 20 percent of physicians practicing in Australia have received their basic education in India and one out of 10 doctors in Canada has some Indian connections.

The sad stories about poor health conditions and facilities are heard across the nation. It’s reported that over 70 percent of rural population in Andhra Pradesh depend on unqualified doctors for health checkups. The demand for more medical professionals is increasing on a daily basis while the glamour of the profession is said to be decreasing in the country.