Health News

Government, Health News, ET HealthWorld

New Delhi: There is an 80 per cent shortfall of specialists at community health centers (CHCs) in India. This includes surgeons, obstetricians and gynaecologists, physicians and paediatricians.

Community health centers are an important pillar of the primary health care infrastructure that serves as referral centers for primary health centers (PHCs). It has 30 in-door beds with one OT, X-ray, labor room and laboratory facilities.

As per minimum norms, a CHC is required to be manned by four medical specialists ie surgeon, physician, obstetrician/gynaecologist and paediatrician.

As on March 31, 2022, the Rural Health Statistics 2021-22 released by the government shows, there are 6,064 CHCs – 5,480 in rural areas and 584 in urban areas – functional in the country. Although the number of specialist doctors at CHCs have increased from 3,550 in 2005 to 4,485 in 2022, the document reveals, there remains a shortfall of 83 per cent of surgeons, 74 per cent of obstetricians and gynaecologists, 79 per cent of physicians and 82 per cent of paediatricians.

“Overall, there is a shortfall of 79.5 per cent specialists at CHCs as compared to the requirement for existing CHCs,” it states.

The PHCs are the first contact point between the village community and the medical officer. According to the Rural Health Statistics 2021-22 report, manpower in PHC includes a medical officer supported by paramedical and other staff. In the case of PHC, for health assistants (male + female), the shortfall is 74.2 per cent, the report says.

“For allopathic doctors at PHCs, there is a shortfall of 3.1 per cent of the total requirement at all India levels. This is again mainly due to a significant shortfall of doctors at PHCs in the States of Odisha (298), Chhattisgarh (279) and Karnataka (60). Apart from allopathic doctors, there are 8,473 Ayush doctors available at PHCs,” it adds.

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