Nearly 31% (one-third) of those who claimed to be allopathic doctors in India in 2001 were educated only till secondary school level, a study by the United Nations World Health Organisation has found. Some 57% of them did not have any medical qualifications, the report titled "The Health Workforce in India" added.
In rural areas, it was found that only 18.8% of healthcare workers had a medical qualification, The Hindu reported. At the national level, India has 80 doctors to cater to a population of one lakh. However, the figure drops to 36 doctors when all "doctors" – allopathic, homoeopathic, ayurvedic and unani – without medical qualifications are excluded, according to the study, which was based on data from all districts gathered during the 2001 census.
The study has brought the quality of India's healthcare sector into question. Secretary of the Medical Council of India Dr Reena Nayyar said, "I don't think this report has officially come to the MCI yet. But in general, any person practising allopathic medicine who does not have a registered medical qualification comes under quackery."
Chairman of the Indian Medical Association's Standing Committee on Anti-Quackery, Dr AV Jayakrishnan, said, the Centre had made no efforts to curb fraudulent medical practices. "It is a well-known fact that in many states, quacks are operating in large numbers. Laws are so weak that even if the frauds are caught, they get bail the following day and start practicing again," he said.
Another such report based on the 2011 census may be in the works soon.