The Kerala chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) is working to expand access to healthcare in rural areas of the state.
Around sixty percent of doctors in India work in urban areas, despite seventy percent of the population living in rural areas. Although Kerala is one of the most highly-ranked states on health parameters and home to one doctor for every 535 people, rural health centres in the state are dogged by shortages of personnel according to Governor P Sathasivam.
To address this issue, the Kerala IMA aims to recruit 200 doctors from its number to staff a pool of doctors willing to work in remote areas where healthcare accessibility is low. The Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan requested the move according to state secretary Dr N. Sulphi.
“In a national coordination committee convened by Union health ministry, a request to create a pool of doctors in Kerala was put forward by the Union health minister,” he explained, noting that the list of doctors will be forwarded to the Union Health Ministry once it is devised. There will be an emphasis on graduates to fill the posts.
Steps to expand access to rural healthcare by plugging doctor shortages have been taking across the country. In Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced that graduates of Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees in government colleges will be required to work in rural areas for a period of two years. Those who pursue postgraduate medical education will be required to work in such areas for one year. Other ideas to expand the number of doctors have included raising doctors’ retirement ages and recruiting retirees in Madhya Pradesh.