Brain drain continues to trouble India’s medical sector. According to the Medical Council of India (MCI), till November 2011, as many as 1,001 doctors have left the country for better salary package and opportunities to foreign destinations.
The MCI records show that these doctors were issued Good Standing Certificates (GSCs) — a compulsory requirement for medical professionals applying for practice in foreign hospitals.
The council had issued 1,264 GSCs in 2010, 1,386 in 2009 and 1,002 in 2008.
Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was the chief guest at the 39th convocation of the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences where 465 degrees were awarded, expressed concern over doctors getting trained in India and migrating abroad for better money and work opportunities.
Congratulating the graduates, she said, “Doctors graduating from AIIMS should translate their MCI (Hippocratic) oath into reality and heal the sick to bring solace and happiness in the country where inequality and poverty permeate.”
Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, who addressed the graduates, said, “The nation needs your (doctors) active participation in providing healthcare services in rural areas.”
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), in India, the number of physicians per 100,000 population is 70, which is at par with low-income countries, and for the public sector, the figure is a paltry 20.
In the European Union, the figure is 310 physicians per 100,000 population and in the US, 240 physicians per 100,000. Similarly, the number of nurses per 100,000 population in India is 80, while it is 330 for the world and 160 for low-income countries.
According to the Planning Commission, the country is short of six lakh doctors, 10 lakh nurses and two lakh dental surgeons. It estimates that doctors who have migrated to developed countries form nearly 5% of the medical workforce. Almost 60,000 Indian physicians are estimated to be working in the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.