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J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Sep-Oct;7(5):841-844. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_218_18.

India achieves WHO recommended doctor population ratio: A call for paradigm shift in public health discourse!

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President Academy of Family Physicians of India and Chief Editor Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Kishanganj, Bihar, India.
Department of Community Medicine, MGM Medical College and LSK Hospital, Kishanganj, Bihar, India.


The Indian medical education system has been able to pull through a major turnaround and has been successfully able to double the numbers of MBBS graduate (modern medicine training) positions during recent decades. With more than 479 medical schools, India has reached the capacity of an annual intake of 67,218 MBBS students at medical colleges regulated by the Medical Council of India. Additionally, India produces medical graduates in the "traditional Indian system of medicine," regulated through Central Council for Indian Medicine. Considering the number of registered medical practitioners of both modern medicine (MBBS) and traditional medicine (AYUSH), India has already achieved the World Health Organization recommended doctor to population ratio of 1:1,000 the "Golden Finishing Line" in the year 2018 by most conservative estimates. It is indeed a matter of jubilation and celebration! Now, the time has come to critically analyze the whole premise of doctor-population ratio and its value. Public health experts and policy makers now need to move forward from the fixation and excuse of scarcity of doctors. There is an urgent need to focus on augmenting the fiscal capacity as well as development of infrastructure both in public and private health sectors toward addressing pressing healthcare needs of the growing population. It is also an opportunity to call for change in the public health discourse in India in the background of aspirations of attaining sustainable development goals by 2030.


Doctor population ratio; medical council of India; medical education; public health policy; universal health coverage

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