India is with the 77th day of your lockdown together with the economy slowly limping returning to normalcy. Concerns are now being raised due to an increase in the amount of coronavirus infected people across the country, which stands at more than 2,65,000 with 7,466 deaths. Some are even accusing the governments of not listening to expert advice and allowing the resumption of economic activities without setting up a complete assessment. Questions can also be being raised in regards to the rationality and efficacy of the decision to impose complete lockdown from 25 March, when India had reported only 500-odd coronavirus cases and opening the economy when the quantity of corona infected people started rising , the government has chose to allow opening of your economy in every respects with fewer restrictions. Apparently the argument seems logical until we compare the Indian scenario with what is happening in other major countries all over the world.
The United States of America with a population of 33 crores has reported nearly 20 lakh coronavirus cases with 1.1 lakh deaths, Spain has 2.9 lakh cases and 27,000 deaths, the United Kingdom has reported 2.8 lakh cases and more than 40,000 deaths and Italy’s 6 crore population has had 2.3 lakh coronavirus infections with more than 33,000 deaths, as things stand now. Compare this with 2,66,598 cases reported in India, a country using a population in excess of 130 crore, and simply 7,466 deaths. Clearly India did well in their combat the coronavirus. We will remember all of the countries referred above are western world generally advanced health systems and in comparison with them our health and wellness delivery systems are not just poor but extremely inadequate. If we were able to minimise the number of people who died due to the Sars-CoV-2 pathogen, we must give due credit to the governments for their efforts and our medical professionals who have so far succeeded in managing the pandemic with scarce resources, despite this crucial shortcoming.
Although the pandemic did well to get the spotlight on our health and wellness system – after quite a long time. Shortages of all kinds of medical infrastructure became apparent, as the number of cases began to rise. Makeshift hospitals had to be set up though most public hospitals are catering to coronavirus patients. An acute shortage of other, nurses and doctors paramedics can also be being felt across the country.
That India continues to be short of doctors has been widely acknowledged. India’s accessibility of doctors per thousand population does come near the World Health Organisation’s prescribed doctor-patient ratio of 1: 1000 if we include every one of the registered ayurvedic, homeopathic, allopathic and unani doctors. But the volume of doctors who practise is a lot lower. It is also far less than many countries including Russia, the USA, and all of the European Union countries the location where the ratio is above 3 doctors per one thousand population. Unless we increase the ratio to the quantity of better performing countries around the health front, poor individuals India continue to suffer.
The issue of shortage of doctors and also other support staff has been permitted to linger over the past several decades because of short-sighted policies of your institutions for example Medical Council of India, which, in their new incarnation, continues to be after the same form of archaic policies. The result is that 532 medical colleges have 76,928 seats for the MBBS course. Only half these seats have been in state-run medical colleges. If India has to get the doctor-patient ratio of 1: one thousand, we require nearly 20 lakh more doctors by the year 2030.
India faced a similar shortage of engineers throughout the 1990s when there are only 1,30,000 engineering seats available. Nevertheless in 2000, the federal government dismantled the stranglehold from the engineering education regulatory body, AICTE, and reworked the regulatory framework that governed opening of engineering colleges. This ended in an increase in the intake in engineering colleges by 4x within five years.
Unfortunately, this type of reform is yet to take place in medical education. Shortages in medical seats still exist and students are, according to one estimate, collectively made to pay nearly 15,000 crores in capitation fee, as a result. A huge number of others align to get admission in countries such as Russia, Australia, many and China others, paying millions of dollars. We have seen this annual loot of thousands of crores for days on end and made our students and people suffer. Time comes that people reform the medical education system, end the pervasive corruption in these regulatory institutions and ensure which we carry out the expansion in a manner that people produce the required quantity of doctors to take care of our population.