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More doctors not the answer

We have written before on HII about the shortage of doctors in India, especially amongst the rural population, and how the ratio of doctors to patients in India fall far below WHO norms. However, we have also written about how more doctors is not necessarily the solution for better health outcomes, especially in the context of India with a high percentage of population in rural areas.

This Times of India article seems to bear out our thesis that more doctors is not necessarily the solution. Doctors trained in health institutes in urban areas may not be willing or equipped to meet the healthcare needs of India’s rural population. The main issue is that public health posts in rural areas are unattractive for someone who may have trained in elite, urban institutions.

Possible solutions could include be a quota for rural students who might be more inclined to work in their own areas or a policy of identifying students with a stronger sense of public service. Such ideas, however, do not seem to form a part of any discussion. It is imperative that for health indicators to improve in India, the political will has to be summoned up to make health a political issue and access to health for all as a fundamental right for all citizens.

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