A recent World Health Organization report has revealed about the appalling state of medical practitioners in India. In the year 2001, almost one-third (31%) of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors, had just secondary school degrees, whereas, 57% were quacks — without any medical qualification, according to a study titled ‘The Health Workforce in India’.
The situation in rural India was even worse, with just 18.8% allopathic doctors had a medical qualification.
However, it has been found that female healthcare workers, comprising 38% of the total, are more qualified than their male counterparts. 67% of the female allopathic doctors had medical qualifications.
The study has revealed that the density of all doctors, including allopathic, ayurvedic, homoeopathic and unani in the national level was 80 doctors per lakh population whereas,China had 130. The figure falls to 36 doctors per lakh population if the quacks are ignored. In terms of nurses and midwives, India had 61 workers per lakh population compared to 96 in China. The number reduced tenfold to 6 per lakh population if only those with a medical qualification were considered, reported The Hindu.
A stark contrast can be seen in state-wise findings. For instance, Kerala had 38.4% of the country’s medically qualified nurses but constituted only 3.1% of the total population. Similarly, West Bengal had 30.6% of all homoeopathic doctors in the country but only 7.8% of the population.
District-wise study revealed that the density of allopathic doctors with any level of education was lowest in 30 districts. Half of these districts were in north-eastern states and the other half in the central states.
The scenario for dentists was even worse. The national density of dentists was extremely low at 2.4 per lakh population, with 58 (of the total 593) districts having no dentists at all in 2001. In fact, 175 districts (30%) had no dentists with a medical qualification.
Quackery is a big business in India, the 2001 figures show some really shocking circumstances. In villages and small towns quackery is dominant because of the unavailability of good doctors in the areas.