NEW DELHI: India needs to set up an additional 257 medical colleges, 1617 nursing colleges, 24 dentistry colleges, 23 AYUSH (traditional medicine ) colleges, 79 pharmacy colleges, and 2181 ANMs training institutes so that adquate number of health personnel are available by 2017, according to a Planning Commission calculation.
But it has not allocated any funds for this huge boost. Funding for health is proposed to go up by only half a percentage point of GDP in the next five years.
International norms prescribed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) say that 450 health workers are needed to fully meet the healthcare needs of one lakh population. Included in this are 85 doctors, 50 traditional medicine practitioners, 15 dentists, 160 nurses, 65 auxiliary nurse and midwives (ANMs) and 75 pharmacists.
By WHO standards, India is lagging far behind. Current availability according to the Planning Commission, is 52 doctors, 44 traditional medicine practitioners, 6 dentists, 56 nurses, 29 ANMs and 43 pharmacists, making a total of just 231 health personnel per lakh population. This is only slightly more than 50 percent of the WHO standards.
According to the Planning Commission projections based on current capacity of various .
The Planning Commission also considers a proposal to accommodate the “large number of nonqualified practitioners, such as traditional birth attendants (dais) and compounders and Registered Medical Practitioners (RMPs) in the healthcare system”.
Although the law does not allow them to practice medicine or to prescribe drugs, the Planning Commission admits that “they address an unfulfilled demand for ambulatory care, particularly in rural areas”. The challenge is to get them into the formal system, says the Commission document.
“An option is to give these practitioners, depending on their qualifications and experience, an opportunity to get trained and integrate them into the health work-force in suitable capacities as pharmacists, physician assistants, ANMs, etc.,” it suggests.