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India has one allopathic doctor for 1,343 people: Govt

New Delhi: In a startling revelation, it has come to notice that shortage of doctors in the country have further worsened as there is only one doctor for 1,343 people, which is very less than the World Health Organisation's recommendation of one doctor on 1,000 people.

The country has total 12,55,786 registered doctors of modern medicine, out of which Maharashtra has the highest 1,88,540 allopathic doctors as on June 30.

The government has revealed this while replying to a question raised by DMK MP Kalanidhi Veeraswamy, who represents Chennai North parliamentary constituency, in Lok Sabha. In a written reply, MoS Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey told the House that there 12,55,786 allopathic doctors registered in the country as on June 30, 2020.

"Assuming 80 per cent availability, it is estimated that around 10.05 lakh doctors may be actually available for active service. It gives a doctor-population ratio of 1:1,343 as per current population estimate of 135 crore," said Choubey, who had courted a controversy in October 2017 for blaming people of Bihar for "crowding" AIIMS, Delhi even for minor ailments that can be treated at home.

Choubey, who hails from Bihar, had also reportedly said that he had instructed the director of AIIMS to turn away such patients.

In his reply, Choubey further said, "Besides, there are 7.88 lakh Ayurveda, Unani and Homeopathy (AUH) doctors in the country. Assuming 80 per cent availability, it is estimated that around 6.30 lakh AUH doctors may be actually available for service and considered together with allopathic doctors, it gives a doctor population ratio of 1:825."

Apart from Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu has 1,48,216 registered doctors of modern medicine, Karnataka has 1,30,698 doctors, Andhra Pradesh has 1,02,924 such doctors.

Uttar Pradesh has 84,560 doctors followed by West Bengal (75,917), Gujarat (69,746), Kerala (65,685), Punjab (51,685), Rajasthan (46,253), Bihar (45,795), Madhya Pradesh (40,171), etc. The national capital Delhi has 26,685 registered allopathic doctors.

Notably, there are 52,666 doctors registered only with MCI as some states/UTs who do not have their own medical registration council, their doctors get registration with the councils of other neighbouring states.

Commenting on the inclusion of Ayush doctors to showcase a better doctor pupil ration of 1:825, health experts have criticised MoS Health MoS Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey for adding practitioners of ancient medicine in the total tally as WHO's recommendations are only for allopathic doctors only.

"When a junior health minister can claim that sitting for 15 minutes in the sun could "improve immunity and kill coronavirus", what can we expect from him," the experts said, adding that he had also advised that cow urine could be used to treat cancer.

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