MUMBAI: A nationwide survey on the state of healthcare in the country reveals that 44 of the top 120 Indian cities are below the global median of 1.2 doctors per 1000 population, while 76 cities are above this benchmark. The IMS Health Physician and Chemist census points out that there is an alarmingly low doctor density in rural areas.
Amongst the metro cities, the density of doctors to 1,000 population is more than double compared to the national average of 0.65, with Delhi having the highest density at 2.05 doctors due to the fact that it has the highest numbers of doctors in India (33,5000). Mumbai has one of the lowest density of doctors, 1.52 per 1,000 population, due to the fact that it's the most populous city.
Also, cities in Kerala have emerged with the lowest doctor density in India, while Haryana has the highest doctor density. Cities of North India account for 31% of doctors in the country, but only 28% of the country's population resides there, highlighting the extent to which these cities are over-served by the healthcare system.
As against this, east and south India have a significantly lower density of GPs (non-MBBS) compared to the Indian average.
Similar insights are found across the chemist population: Around 42% of chemists in India are concentrated in the top nine most populated cities, and 29% of chemist sales are performed without any prescription. Significantly, the census finds that 37% of chemist outlets are attached to doctor clinics, polyclinics, hospital facilities, and nursing homes.
The IMS Health Physician and Chemist Census covers 120 cities (metro and non-metro) and includes insights into over 3.73 lakh doctors and 99,000 chemists across multiple parameters. The scope of information will help maximize the commercial and strategic potential for pharmaceutical, consumer health, medical devices and diagnostic companies, says a release. It will also provide critical insights for government policy-makers to develop better policies and a stronger healthcare infrastructure in India.
Says Amit Backliwal, MD IMS Health - south Asia: "This census helps close important information gaps in the healthcare value chain in India. Our commercial effectiveness services team will use these new insights to enable stakeholders across healthcare to make better-informed decisions and to sharply increase the ROI from their commercial strategies. In addition, government and public bodies will now be armed with the market intelligence they need to design more relevant, more targeted programmes that drive superior health outcomes."