The health ministry has approved a major increase in postgraduate seats in key departments at All India Institute for Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to address the severe dearth of specialists across the country.
The departments that will get more PG seats include gynaecology , paediatrics, burns and plastic surgery , emergency medicines as well as rheumatology and biotechnology . While seats will be almost doubled in departments like mother & child–which deals with obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics–and burns, plastic & reconstruction surgery , there will significant ramp-up in other streams, a senior official told TOI.
“There is a huge need for super specialists and with the increasing disease burden and footfall at AIIMS, it is essential to expand medical education capacities at the earliest,” the official said.
According to the official, civil infrastructure to facilitate expansion has already been awarded and separate blocks for some departments are likely to be carved out over the next two years.
Postgraduate seats in obstetrics, gynaecology and paediatrics will be increased from 22 to 44 by 2017-18, while those in burns and plastic surgery will go up from 12 to 25 by end of 2017. The institute will also hire more faculty and expand services in some of these streams.
At present, there is just one doctor for around 1,700 people in India, whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) stipulates a minimum ratio of 1:1,000. Apart from shortage of doctors, unwillingness to work in rural areas often comes up as a major obstacle creating artificial scarcity.
The latest upsurge in lifestyle and chronic diseases has also increased the demand for super specialists.
According to estimates, there are around 9.2 lakh doctors registered with Medical Council of India. There are about 4,50,000 specialist doctors in various streams. For instance, there are about 40,000 cardiologists against a patient population of 4.5 crore–a doctor-patient ratio of 1:1,125. The situation is worse in case of nephrology . While about 10 per cent of the overall population is suffering from kidney diseases, there are merely 1,500 nephrologists in the country a doctorpatient ratio of about 1:8,000.In case of cancer, there are around 1,000 trained oncologists in the country and the ratio of oncologists to cancer patients is about 1:2,000.