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India short of 6 lakh doctors, 2 million nurses: Study

Date: 15 April 2019 Tags: Reports & Indices

According to recent study by US based Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP), India has shortage of an estimated 600,000 doctors and 2 million nurses. The lack of properly trained staff in administering antibiotics is preventing patients from accessing life-saving drugs. This study was conducted to identify key access barriers to antibiotics in low, middle, and high-income countries.

Report Findings

  • The majority of annual 5.7 million antibiotic-treatable deaths worldwide occur in low and middle-income countries, where mortality burden from treatable bacterial infections far exceeds estimated annual 700,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections.
  • Lack of access to antibiotics is killing more people at present than does antibiotic resistance. Even after discovery of new antibiotic, regulatory hurdles and substandard health facilities delay or altogether prevent widespread market entry and drug availability.
  • Of 21 new antibiotics that entered markets between 1999 and 2014, less than five were registered in most sub-Saharan Africa countries. It shows that just mere existence of effective antibiotic does not mean that they are available in countries where they are most needed.
  • Worldwide, irrational use of antibiotics and poor antimicrobial stewardship has led to treatment failure and propagate spread of drug resistance which, in turn, further narrowed available array of effective antibiotics.
  • Even if antibiotics are available in markets, patients are often unable to afford them. High out-of-pocket medical costs to patient are compounded by limited government spending for health services. 
  • In India, 65% of health expenditure is out-of-pocket, and such expenditures push some 57 million people into poverty each year. Besides, there is one government doctor for every 10,189 people in India (World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends a ratio of 1:1,000), thus there is deficit of 600,000 doctors, and nurse to patient ratio is 1:483, implying shortage of two million nurses.
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