Condition Critical: Doctor Please Come Back Home

06 Apr 2012 | Social Welfare | By Team Halabol

Indian doctors who have migrated to developed countries form nearly five per cent of their medical workforce. Ironically, the nation which has so generously delivered medical workforce to the world is itself facing a critical shortage of doctors and nurses.



Healing the World, Home's ailing

Indian physicians can be seen healing people in every country around the world. They form to be an inevitable part of the best healthcare institutions and in every specialty. There are over 1.2 million Indian-origin physicians providing healthcare in about 180 countries. More than 60,000 Indian physicians are estimated to be working in countries like US, UK, Canada and Australia alone. The best surgery hands, all across the globe, are majorly Indians.

Irony of dichotomy, while doctors from India take care of ailing patients all around the world, India is short of more than 600,000 doctors. And if the adequate measures are not taken timely, the shortfall of doctors by 2031 is estimated to be 9.54 lakh.

India has just one doctor for 1,700 people. In comparison, the doctor population ratio globally is 1.5:1,000. Medical Council of India (MCI) aims to have at least one doctor for 1,000 people by 2031.

Somalia has one doctor for 10,000 population, Pakistan has one doctor for 1,923 population and Egypt has one doctor per 1,484 population. China's doctor population ratio stands at 1:1063, Korea 1:951, Brazil 1:844, Singapore 1:714, Japan 1:606, Thailand 1:500, UK 1:469, US 1:350 and Germany 1:296.

Currently, there are 330 medical colleges in India, with an intake capacity of 35,000 students. With this intake, the shortfall of doctors in coming twenty years is estimated to be nearly one million.

India at present needs 29,400 teachers for medical education but there is a shortfall of 6,340 teachers. According to MCI report, there will be an additional need for 35,740 teachers.

According to the detailed break-up, subjects like anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pharmacology, pathology, surgery, medicine and forensic medicine each need 2,000 faculty members. But almost all these departments have a current shortfall of 500-1,500 teachers. Additionally, all these departments would each need 2,100-3,500 teachers in the near future.

Community medicine at present needs 2,400 teachers and has a shortfall of 500 teachers and would additionally need 2,900 teachers. Gynecology currently requires 1,600 teachers and would need an additional 1,760 faculty members.

Payback Call

In view of the acute doctor shortage, the government is now considering granting permission to Indian physicians abroad to practice in their homeland.

Taking note of the situation, a Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) - aimed at connecting Indian-origin physicians from all over the world – has been constituted.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of British Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and Secretary General of GAPIO, says, “Indian doctors abroad are keen to work in India, in a variety of ways, including voluntary work, support in collaborative research and medical education.”

There are about 40,000 Indian physicians in National Health Service (UK) and we constitute more than one third of all physicians in the UK. We are very keen to do our best for India and willing to volunteer time and expertise to make India a robust nation,” Mehta says.

Shortage of medical practitioners is visibly mounting in other parts of the world too. Faced with an acute shortage of doctors, several deaneries in Britain have embarked on a recruitment drive in India. In Wales alone, there is a shortage of 400 doctors. Filling the gap, the Wales deanery took away 51 medical professionals from India. There are more to follow.

The medical-brain drain is adding much to the Indian crisis. The lure of greener pastures leads to the exodus of physicians from India. It’s not only about the fresher, established, senior Indians are equally flowing out of the country.

Turning Back

Approximately 10,000 doctors are retired or retiring and 15,000 doctors are in training on foreign lands, and they are being looked upon to fill the gap in India.

Doctors from India healing the world your homeland is in dire need of you. Please return.

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