Indian healthcare professionals prefer private jobs; study claims gross uneven distribution of healthcare professionals

Study says nearly 80 per cent of doctors in India work in the private sector.

Published: 29th May 2019 12:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2019 12:10 PM   |  A+A-

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Government medical colleges in the country produce 50 per cent of all doctors in India every year, but nearly 80 per cent of them work in the private sector. This finding is part of the first-ever mapping of healthcare professionals in the country, highlighting the size, composition and distribution of human resource for health. Carried out by researchers associated with the Population Foundation of India, Delhi, the analysis, based on the scrutiny of the national sample survey and registry of various councils, has been published in the British Medical Journal.

The total size of health workforce estimated from the National Sample Survey data was 3.8 million in January 2016, which is about 1.2 million less than the total number of health professionals registered with different councils and associations. The density of doctors and nurses and midwives per 10,000 population is 20.6 according to the NSS and 26.7 based on the registry data.

Health workforce density in rural India and states in eastern India is lower than the WHO minimum threshold of 22.8 per 10,000 population, found the analysis. Researchers also noted that more than 80 per cent of doctors and 70 per cent of nurses and midwives are employed in the private sector.

“Approximately 25 per cent of the currently working health professionals do not have the required qualifications as laid down by professional councils, while 20 per cent of adequately qualified doctors are not in the current workforce,” the paper further says.

Himanshu Negandhi, a co-author of the study, said that the study has clearly highlighted the unequal distribution of manpower in the healthcare sector.

“While in some states it is way above the WHO standards, in others it’s very bad and that is an area where our policymakers on health should look closely,” he said. “Also many registered professionals quit the sector in a few years and that aspect needs to be examined properly.”

The density of health workers, including allopath and AYUSH doctors, nurses and midwives, in India is 20.6 per 10,000 population. Most central and eastern Indian states have a low density of health workers, ranging from approximately 23 per 10,000 population in Bihar and Northeastern states other than Assam, to as low as 7 per 10,000 population in Jharkhand.

The only South Indian state reflecting lower density than the all-India average is Andhra Pradesh (25), and the only eastern state having a higher density than the all-India average is West Bengal (36).

The highest concentration of health workers is in Delhi (67), followed by Kerala (66) and Punjab (52)
Delhi has the highest density of doctors (34), but the density of nurse and midwife is the highest (38) in Kerala.

The proportion of male is higher in the allopathic, AYUSH and dental categories, and lower in the nurse and midwife category.

Approximately 80% of all health workers are in the 25-60 age group. Approximately 30% of all health workers.

Most of the health workers reported to be employed as regular wage earners (57%). However, as high as 63% of allopathic and 88% of AYUSH doctors reportedly are self-employed.

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