Govt, private health facilities to be mapped

Govt, private health facilities to be mapped

The Union Health Ministry has begun the process of creating district-wise maps of doctors, nurses, diagnostic laboratories and medical stores – both private and government sectors included – with the underlying purpose of improving access to health care.

Once created, the map would guide policy planners about distribution of facilities and doctors in each district, so that focus can be given on the neglected areas with poor health infrastructure.

India’s abysmally low allopathic doctor-patient ratio of 1: 2,000 has improved in the last decade to come up to almost 1: 1,400, as per the National Health Profile, 2013, a compilation of health statistics, released by the ministry last week. But the allopathic doctors attend to only 8 per cent of the population, suggesting congregation of doctors in urban areas.

“The maps, which we are creating would tell us where the gaps are. For the pilot project, maps would be created for Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Dungarpur (Rajasthan), Hazaribagh (Jharkhand) and one district in Nagaland,” Jagdish Prasad, director general of health services at the Health Ministry told Deccan Herald.

The database will show the number of private and government doctors, nursing homes, private and government hospitals, dental facilities, blood banks, eye surgeons, nurses and pharmacist shops in each district, going up to block and sub-division level.

Launched last week, the pilot project is expected to be completed by the first week of November. “Once the gap areas are identified, targets can be fixed to fill up these gaps under the National Rural Health Mission,” Prasad said.

The latest health statistics suggest there is one dental surgeon for every 10,120 people and one nurse for every 531 individuals. There are also a large number of doctors practising Indian systems of medicines and if those Ayush doctors are taken into account, the doctor patient ratio improves to 1: 1,217.

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