• India is reeling under an acute shortage of specialist doctors, with a shortfall of nearly 80% of the required specialists at Community Health Centres (CHCs), reveals the Rural Health Statistics report published by the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry on Thursday.
  • The CHCs are 30-bed block-level health facilities which are ideally supposed to provide basic care related to surgery, gynaecology, paediatrics and general medicine.
  • The report points out that there is a shortfall of specialist doctors, including surgeons (83.2%), obstetricians and gynaecologists (74.2%), physicians (79.1%) and paediatricians (81.6%).
  • There are 6,064 CHCs across India, and the Health Ministry has been unsuccessful in meeting the requirement for specialist doctors in most of these centres.
  • This is despite the fact that in 2005, the number of specialist doctors in the CHCs was 3,550, which has seen a 25% increase to 4,485 in 2022.
  • However, with the number of CHCs growing, the requirement for specialists required to make the centres functional has also increased.
  • “Requirements of specialist doctors in CHCs has increased by 63.8%, whereas there is only an increase of 26.3% in the actual number of in-position specialists,” the report notes.
  • Apart from specialist doctors, there is a shortage of women health workers and auxiliary nursing midwives, with up to 14.4% of these posts lying vacant in primary health centres and sub-centres.


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