Odisha in bottom-10 in doc-population ratio

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Odisha in bottom-10 in doc-population ratio

Monday, 12 February 2018 | SANJEEV KUMAR PATRO | BHUBANESWAR

When the country is readying for universal health assurance under ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme, the deficit in universal healthcare and a poor condition for successful implementation of the programme in Odisha look quite glaring as the doctor-to-population ratio is abysmal. Odisha languishes at the eighth slot in the bottom-10 States in country led by Telangana.

The fact is Odisha now needs around 10,000 more doctors from the current active registered doctors of around 17,345 to attain the average doctor-to-population ratio nationally whereas it needs a whopping 25,655 more to attain the WHO norm of one doctor per a 1,000-populations. The national average ratio of doctor-to-population in 2017 was estimated at around 1:1,597; and the ratio in Odisha stood at 1:2,749.

The worry is that no solution seems to be in sight in the near-term for Odisha as the State now sees only around 900 doctors graduating every year when the requirement to touch the national average, as in 2017 alone, needs a high of 10,000 more doctors. This fact brings to the fore how acute the shortage of doctors is in the State for providing even the basic minimum healthcare requirement to people.

Significantly, the total of MBBS seats in Odisha in 2018 stand at around 1,350. And, under the Centrally-sponsored scheme, the State could see addition of around 750 more MBBS seats by year 2020 as by then, three more medical colleges in the districts of Puri, Baleswar and Balangir would commence their MBBS courses.

Even then, with a likely increased intake scenario in MBBS courses in Odisha, the State has to wait till the year 2025 to attain the 2017 national average ratio of doctor-to-population. Interestingly, when the country could achieve the WHO average of 1 doctor for 1,000 people by 2022, Odisha has to wait beyond 2030 to achieve the target at the current and future MBBS intake scenarios.

According to data available with Medical Council of India, among 23 major States including Assam, Telangana topped the list with the poorest doctor-to-population ratio of 1:17,100 and is followed by Jharkhand, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha. Among the BIMARU States, Rajasthan and MP though have the ratio below the national average but are above Odisha. Assam and J&K have doctor-to-population ratios better than Odisha. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal also have better ratios than Odisha.

While Andhra Pradesh with 719 is at number three in top-10 States that have above the national and WHO averages, West Bengal with around 1,717 is only above the national average. While Goa tops the list, Tamil Nadu stood second and was followed by AP, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Maharashtra. All these States have ratiods better than the WHO norm of 1:1,000.

Why Andhra Pradesh has a better ratioIJ It is because AP has around 31 medical colleges with a passing-out capacity of around 4,750 seats every year against only nine medical colleges and passing-out strength of around 900 in Odisha.  The AP trend is also noticed in other top-10 States.


Odisha doc-to-population ratio 1:2,749 National average 1:1,597 Odisha to attain national average by 2025 State to touch WHO norm beyond 2030.

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