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A 2016 WHO report on the health workforce in India had shocked everyone by stating that 57.3% of doctors practising allopathic medicine did not have any medical qualification. In January 2018, then Union health minister JP Nadda had refused the report as “erroneous” while answering to a question in the Lok Sabha. Although, the data has now got 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.
On August 6, the FAQ on the Bill (as earlier) issued by PIB said 57.3% of personnel currently practising allopathic medicine do not have any medical qualification. As per the WHO report based on the 2001 Census, hardly 20% of those who practised medicine in rural India had any medical qualification. Also, it is estimated that 31% of those who claimed to be allopathic practitioners were educated up to Class 12 only.
Nadda in a written reply to a Lok Sabha question on January 5, 2018 said that 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 therefore all registered doctors have medical qualifications. He however added 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 twist in the distribution of doctors between urban and rural areas with the urban to rural doctor ratio being 3.8:1. As a result, most of the rural and poor population is deprived of good quality care leaving them in the charge of quacks. The FAQ cited the figure of 57.3% practitioners of not having any medical qualification.