A year-old throat cancer patient from Chikkamagaluru, who had undergone an emergency tracheostomy in a city hospital, was discharged after being taught some basic suction techniques. However, the man died after five days as the local healthcare unit didn’t have a doctor or medical staffer who could help him use the suction pipe.
According to Medical Council of India data, the doctor-population ratio in the country stands at 1:1681. And this too is based on the assumption that 80% of these doctors are available on any given day. This excludes non-allopathy doctors. Governments, both at the Centre and states, have made no significant effort to prevent doctors from migrating or making the atmosphere more conducive to practice in the country. Between April 2013 and March 2016, 4,701 doctors who graduated from India chose to go abroad.
Acute shortage of nephrologists, especially in North Karnataka, results in a steady stream of patients heading to Bengaluru. With no facility for dialysis and other kidney-related treatment, most patients have to practically spend their lives in buses, trains and hospital corridors.
Said Dr Vishal Rao US, consultant oncologist, head and neck surgeon at Healthcare Global Cancer Centre: “Today , India is on the brink of a major healthcare crisis. While we are globally the hub of non-communicable and communicable diseases, we also face a significant shortage of doctors. With less than 1% spent on health, medical education is a neglected subject for the government.India ranks 112 in World Health Organization (WHO) ratings. The current cost of medical education creates ambivalence in pursuing research and exploring medical advances. This is a disincentive for a medico who battles sustainability, while bearing the motto of service, aiming to improve healthcare accessibility.”