A district hospital in India, on an average, has 24 beds per 1 lakh population, showed a report released by the Centre’s think tank Niti Aayog on Thursday.

The “Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals” report is based on the evaluation of 707 hospitals across the country in 2018-19.

On an average, a district hospital in Bihar has just six beds per 1 lakh population – the lowest among the all the states and Union territories, the report showed. Puducherry has the highest average of beds per district hospital – 222 per 1 lakh population.

Source: Niti Aayog's Best Practices in the Performance of District Hospitals report.

Bihar Minister minister Ashok Choudhary said he did not believe the report was accurate. “We have worked a lot in the health sector with the development of hospitals, nursing schools in districts,” he said, according to ANI.

According to the Indian Public Health Standards’ 2012 guidelines, district hospitals should have at least 22 beds per 1 lakh population.

The Niti Aayog report showed that as many as 14 states and one Union Territory in the country have less than 22 beds per 1 lakh population.

Apart from Bihar, the list includes Jharkhand (nine beds) Telangana (10), Uttar Pradesh and Haryana (13), Maharashtra (14), Jammu and Kashmir (17), Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Punjab (18), Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal (19) and Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh (20).

“District hospitals in India have a range of 1 to 408 beds per 1 lakh population,” the report added. “217 district hospitals were found to have at least 22 beds for every 1 lakh population.”

The report also assessed the performance of district hospitals based on the availability of medical and paramedical staff, health and diagnostic testing services and the rates of bed occupancy rate and surgeries.

The document laid down 14 specialties which hospitals must have. These included general medicine, general surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, emergency, critical care, anaesthesia, ophthalmology, ENT (ears, nose and throat), dermatology and venereology, orthopedics, dental care, public health management and radiology.

The report said that in only 101 out of the 707 hospitals that were evaluated, all the specialties were functional.

Tamil Nadu had the highest percentage (16.8%) of hospitals with all functional specialties, followed by Karnataka (13.9%), West Bengal (10.9%), and Kerala (9.9%), the report said.