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More than half of the doctors in India don't have any medical qualification: WHO report
'The Health Workforce in India', a report prepared by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has rung alarm bells regarding the health-care sector in India.

According to the report by WHO, more than half of the doctors in India don't have any medical qualification. Of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors, in 2001, 31 per cent were educated only up to the secondary school level and 57 per cent did not have any medical qualification.

The situation seems to be far worse in rural India than in urban India. In rural India, only 18.8 per cent of allopathic doctors had a medical qualification.

As per the report, females are more qualified that their male counterparts. Among allopathic doctors, 67 per cent of females had a medical qualification while the same number for the males was at 38 per cent.

The density of all doctors — allopathic, ayurvedic, homoeopathic and unani — at the national level was 80 doctors per lakh population. This includes those who are doctors but don't have a medical qualification. Without these people, the number falls to 36 doctors per lakh population.

The report also says that India had 61 nurses and midwives per lakh population compared to 96 in China. Again, if the people without medical qualification are disqualified, the number falls drastically to 6 per lakh population.

Also, the data varies heavily from state to state. For example, Kerala which constitutes only 3.1 per cent of the country's population, had 38.4 per cent of the country's medically qualified nurses. West Bengal that accounts for 7.8 per cent of the population, had 30.6 per cent of all homoeopathic doctors in the country.

The case of the dentists is even worse. The national density of dentists was extremely low at 2.4 per lakh population. 175 districts (30 per cent) had no dentists with a medical qualification and 58 (of the total 593) districts had no dentists at all in 2001.

The proposed study would provide an extremely valuable benchmark even if only for 2001," Montek Singh Ahluwalia, former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission (now NITI Aayog) noted in the preface to the report. While presenting this study to the then PM Manmohan Singh, he mentioned that all doctors did not need to have an MBBS degree.

"In the period between 2005 and 2009, there was a major expansion of both public education in medical, nursing and allied schools in most states, by as much as 500 per cent in some cases. So the situation would have changed dramatically. There was also a private expansion," The Hindu quoted T. Sundararaman, Dean of the School of Health Systems at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.

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