With the government sparing just 1.3 per cent of the GDP for public healthcare, way less than the global average of 6 per cent, there remains a severe scarcity of doctors in the country and people continue to incur heavy medical expenditure across rural and urban hospitals. These are among the grim facts recorded in the National Health Profile 2018, an annual report released recently by the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI)
The report covers major health sector-related indicators, namely demographic, socio-economic, health status, health finance, health infrastructure and human resources.
The document gathers its data from the Directorate of Health and Family Welfare of all the states and union territories, Central Government Organisations, National Health Programmes and other concerned national, international agencies.
Here are the key takeaways from this report
One doctor serves a population of 11,000
According to the report, one allopathic government doctor in India, on an average, attends to a population of 11,082, which is 10 times more than the WHO recommended a doctor-population ratio of 1:1,000.
The situation is worst in Bihar where one doctor serves a population of 28,391 people. Uttar Pradesh is ranked second with 19,962 patients per doctor, which is followed by Jharkhand (18,518), Madhya Pradesh (16,996), Chhattisgarh (15,916) and Karnataka (13,556).
Delhi is better in terms of doctor-population ratio amongst other states, where the ratio stands at 1:2203, which is still twice the recommended ratio by WHO.
Rs. 3 per day is spent on an average Indian’s healthcare
The NHP report reflects the consistent indifferent approach of the government in terms of public health spending. The report states the country spent only 1.02 per cent of its GDP on healthcare in the financial year 2015-16.
It also says that the per capita public expenditure by the government on health stands at Rs 1,112 that comes to Rs 3 per day.
This dismal figure puts India below other low-income nations like Maldives (9.4), Bhutan (2.5), Sri Lanka (1.6) and Nepal (1.1). Globally, Sweden spends the largest chunk on public healthcare by dedicating 9.2 per cent of its GDP.
Infant and maternal mortality
Along with the life expectancy rate, there is noteworthy progress in health indicators such as the infant mortality rate and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the country.
The infant mortality rate at the national level stands at its lowest i.e. 34 per 1,000 live births, however, the gap between rural (38) and urban (23) mortality rate is still high.
With an 11-point decrease between 2010-12 and 2011-13, the national MMR stands at a rate of 167 per 1,000,000 births. The state of Assam (300) has the highest MMR, while Kerala the lowest (61).
Rabies remains most lethal communicable disease
With rabies having a 100 per cent fatality rate amongst 97 cases reported in the year, it remained one of the most lethal communicable diseases in the country for the year. The highest figure of deaths due to rabies was reported from West Bengal (26) and Karnataka (15).
According to the report, the cases of Influenza A H1N1 (Swine flu) witnessed a 21-time increase, as 38,811 number of cases were reported leading to a casualty of 2,266 in comparison with 1,786 that were reported in 2016.
Japanese Encephalitis (JE), a kind of an infection of the brain caused by the JE virus, continues to claim lives with 12 per cent mortality rate amongst 2,180 cases. The maximum number of cases (693) of JE and death (93) were reported from Uttar Pradesh, the highest since 2013.
The figure of dengue cases also saw a rise as the cases went up from 1,29,166 in 2016 to 1,57,996 in 2017.