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Are 57% 'doctors' quacks? Centre says no, then yes

Aug 09, 2019, 10.46 AM IST
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Highlights

  • A 2016 WHO report on the health workforce in India had shocked everybody by stating that 57.3% of those practising allopathic medicine did not have any medical qualification
  • Then Union health minister JP Nadda had rubbished the report as “erroneous” in January 2018
  • But the data has now gained official approval
(This story originally appeared in on Aug 09, 2019)
Are a majority of those practising allopathy in India quacks? The government said no, it now says yes. A 2016 WHO report on the health workforce in India had shocked everybody by stating that 57.3% of those practising allopathic medicine did not have any medical qualification. Then Union health minister JP Nadda had rubbished the report as “erroneous” in January 2018 while responding to a question in the Lok Sabha. But the data has now gained official approval, with the same health ministry using it to argue the case for allowing community health practitioners (CHPs) in the National Medical Commission Act just notified.

The FAQ on the Bill (as it then was) issued by PIB on August 6 said 57.3% of personnel currently practising allopathic medicine do not have any medical qualification. According to the WHO report based on the 2001 Census, barely 20% of those who practised medicine in rural India had any medical qualification. It also estimated that 31% of those who claimed to be allopathic practitioners were educated only up to Class 12.

“The report is erroneous since MBBS is the minimum qualification for enrolment as registered medical practitioner in a state medical register to practise medicine, and hence all registered doctors have medical qualifications,” stated Nadda in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question on January 5, 2018. He was, however, quick to add that “the primary responsibility to deal with such cases of quacks lie with the respective state government”.

The FAQ now issued by the ministry stated that there is a huge skew in the distribution of doctors between urban and rural areas with the urban to rural doctor ratio being 3.8:1. “Consequently, most of our rural and poor population is denied good quality care leaving them in the clutches of quacks,” it added, going on to cite the figure of 57.3% of practitioners not having any medical qualification.

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