Assessing Adequacy of Healthcare Professionals in India

Over the years the ratio of various health workforces to population in India is acutely skewed against the vulnerable in rural, tribal and hilly areas. Population in these areas, therefore, remains extremely underserved. The objective of this paper was to assess the adequacy of healthcare workforce in India’s healthcare system with a special focus on the EAG and non-EAG states. EAG states are identified by the Government of India as high focus states for healthcare interventions. However, these states are starved of healthcare professionals and healthcare facilities. Data has been used from the Rural Health Statistics, National Health Profile, AISHE and Medical Council of India. The results showed that there were both deficit and high skewedness in regional availability in regard to the healthcare professionals in India. There is an overall deficit of allopathic doctors and dentists. In regard to nursing professionals and pharmacists, there is marginal surplus. Nevertheless, their regional availability is highly skewed in favour of non-EAG states and EAG states are having wide deficits. The major policy challenge, therefore is to provide the adequate health care professionals and medical institutions in the EAG states where it is needed the most. These states demand focused attention from the public sector. This paper recommends setting up of medical college by relaxing the population norms given by HLEG (2011)  in laggard states to make the availability of health professionals regionally uniform. This will also cater to the rural youth at every underserved corner of the country, who often lack accessibility to the medical colleges, which are either situated in bigger towns or geographically distant places.

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