The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Anupriya Patel’s written response to the Rajya Sabha gave an update on the National Health Policy of the country on January 2, 2018. It came to light that from a total of 25,650 primary health care centres (PHCs), 15,700 (61.2%) depend upon their functionality on one doctor each while 1,974 (7.69%) do not have even one doctor on the premises.
This goes against the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) guidelines which state the requirement of a minimum of two doctors in every 24/7 PHC. This excludes the presence of a desirable third doctor, three nurses, one lab technician and one pharmacist.
Out of the total number of PHCs in India, 9,183 (35.8%) do not have a lab technician and 4,744 (18.4%) do not have a pharmacist.
The Director of Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, Bengaluru, Dr. C. N. Manjunath suggested connecting PHCs through telemedicine as a means to tackle the lack or absence of doctors in rural areas.