Patna: In an embarrassing admission, Bihar’s Health minister Mangal Pandey told the state Assembly on Friday that there is only one doctor for every 17,685 persons in the state. He was responding to a query posed by RJD’s Akhtarul Islam Shaheen during the Question Hour. The minister said that the doctor-population ratio in Bihar is 1:17,685, as against the national average of 1:11,097. At present, there are 6,830 doctors working in the state, including those in medical colleges, he said.
The RJD MLA had asked about the doctor-population ratio in view of World Health Organisation’s (WHO) set parameter of one doctor for every 1,000 people. The minister said there are 10 lakh registered doctors in the country whereas the number of registered doctors in Bihar stood at 40,043.
Stating that the government is committed to fill the vacant posts of doctors in the state, Pandey said 1,805 general practitioners and 665 specialists have been appointed on the recommendations of Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC) in 2016.
Besides, the State Health Society, Patna, is taking steps to appoint specialist doctors under National Health Mission and general doctors under National Urban Health Mission on contract to deal with the shortage of medical practitioners in the state.
The minister’s reply comes days after a man was forced to carry his ailing toddler in his arms and his relatives had to carry the oxygen cylinder and walk to the hospital after the family was refused an ambulance service by the hospital in Bihar. In another recent incident, a woman in Bihar’s Saharsa died after she was operated under a torchlight.