K'taka doctor-patient ratio among the worst

K'taka doctor-patient ratio among the worst

Dubious distinction

Representative image.

Karnataka is among the worst states in the country when it comes to availability of doctors in government clinics and hospitals.

In the economically rich southern state, one government doctor caters to 13,556 people — a number way below the national doctor-patient average of 1:11,082.

Karnataka's doctor-patient ratio is the worst in southern India, says the latest National Health Profile, released by the Union Health Ministry earlier this week.

Such a poor doctor-patient ratio in the government sector is seen despite Karnataka being one of the three states with more than one lakh registered doctors.

While Maharashtra has 1,53,513 doctors registered with the State Medical Council and Medical Council of India, the corresponding numbers for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are 1,26,399 and 1,04,794 respectively.

Assuming 80% availability of the doctors, Karnataka should have nearly 80,000 doctors for a population of more than six crore.

But a poor doctor-patient ratio suggests that a large number of medical practitioners prefer private clinics rather than joining government-run establishments.

The situation deteriorated in the last one year. According to the 2017 edition of the National Health Profile, one government doctor served a population of 13,257. The number rose to 13,556 a year later.

A bulk of the doctors tend to stay in urban areas leaving crores in the countryside without a doctor. In Karnataka, there are only 2,136 doctors at the primary healthcare centres and 498 specialists at the community health centres. In the last one year, not a single specialist joined the CHC.

There are at least seven states and Union Territories including Delhi where there is no specialist in the CHC. In another six states, the numbers are in single digits.

India's doctor-patient ratio is one of the worst in the world and nowhere close to the 1:1,000 ratio.