The Union Health Ministry has proposed to upgrade district government hospitals into medical colleges in a phased manner to meet the shortage of doctors particularly in the rural areas across the country, said Union health and family welfare minister Jagat Prakash Nadda.
Speaking at the occasion of sixth convocation of Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Puducherry, on July 16, Nadda said the ministry will upgrade 58 such hospitals as colleges in the first phase and another 50 in the next phase.
More than 400 districts out of 640-odd districts in the country do not have a medical college. "The rural areas are the worst affected (lack of basic healthcare facilities and infrastructure including manpower). There is a huge regional imbalance," said Nadda.
"The shortage of manpower, not only of doctors and para medics and other categories also, has been a big challenge. The country now has around 7.4 lakh doctors against its requirement of 14 lakh doctors," he said.
The doctor patient ratio in India is 1:1,674, which is less than the prescribed ratio of the World Health Organization (WHO), which is 1:1,000.
"If 100 district hospitals are upgraded, we will get 10,000 additional doctors every year," said Nadda.
Nadda also added that the country has shortage of paramedical staff, with 2.6 lakh nurses needed every year to attain the prescribed nurses-doctor ratio of 3:1.
Nadda said, "JIPMER is expected to take the lead in curriculum development." The ministry will accord permission to JIPMER to establish an off-site medical center at Karaikal, Puducherry enclave.