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Kerala: State with best health indicators, has the lowest density of doctors says study

Kerala has been India’s role-model state for health care development with basic health indicators matching many developed countries. But as reported in the Economic Times,according to a study it has run into a peculiar problem: a shortage of doctors.

The state has the lowest doctor density in the country with some of its cities having just 0.2 doctors for every 1,000 people, says a study conducted by the by the health care research firm IMS consulting.The average doctor ratio per 1,000 population is 1.1 in 120 cities surveyed by IMS, which covered nearly three lakh doctors. The global average is two doctors per thousand people.

This study does not capture the reasons for the low ratio of doctors in the state with the country’s highest life expectancy and lowest infant mortality rate. However, Amit Backliwal, managing director at IMS Health South Asia, points at various possibilities ranging from popularity of Ayurveda and other alternative medicines to a tendency not to consult doctors. As said by him, “One reason could be that Kerala’s 40%-50% of healthcare is driven by non-allopathic doctors or treatments, which this survey doesn’t cover. A more alarming reason could be that people in Kerala might actually be not seeking health care at all” .

The first reason does seem more plausible, as the state would not be able to maintain its health indicators if its people were not seeking health care at all. We would love to get more feedback or comments on this.

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