02.03.01. Size and structure of the workforce | India

02.03.01. Size and structure of the workforce | India

06 Jul 2022

Exact figures of the human resources for health in India are not available. Estimates suggest there are 7.35 medical doctors (World Health Organization (WHO), 2020) and 17.48 nursing and midwifery (WHO,2020), for every 10,000 population in India. The health workforce is more concentrated in the private sector and urban areas (KPMG, 2017).

In 2015, it was reported that 3,812 neurologists were associated with the professional associations for neurologists in India, which is about approximately 70% of the total number of neurologists in the country (Ganapathy, 2015). We modelled this information to estimate that India could be having just about 4.3 neurologists for every 100,000 populations, and the distribution being heavily concentrated in the main cities. We do not have an estimate on the number of geriatricians in the country, but there are likely to be fewer than neurologists. There is a skewed distribution of health personnel across India and the local personnel-population ratio could be significantly different from the national averages (Karan et al., 2019).

There is not much emphasis on geriatrics in the curriculum for undergraduate medicine or nursing education. The National Medical Commission (erstwhile Medical Council of India; the regulatory authority for medical education in India) does not mandate the available theory classes offered in some of the universities. In the 11th Five-year plan under the NPHCE, it was proposed to start training for postgraduate’s medical students in geriatric medicine in seven regional institutes along with in-service training of health professionals from district hospitals (including 100 doctors participating in the training). The scheme has been revised and includes more institutes; however, only one institute has started with the implementation. There are only four medical schools that provide postgraduate geriatric programmes. With respect to nurses, The Indian Nursing Council (the national regulatory body for nurses in India) has developed a one year postgraduate diploma course in geriatrics for nurses (Indian Nursing Council, n.d).


Ganapathy, K. (2015). Distribution of neurologists and neurosurgeons in India and its relevance to the adoption of telemedicine. Neurology India, 63(2), 142. https://doi.org/10.4103/0028-3886.156274

Indian Nursing Council (n.d). PB Diploma in Gerontological Nursing. Available from: https://indiannursingcouncil.org/uploads/pdf/15993067779181124165f537c1986349.pdf

Karan, A., Negandhi, H., Nair, R., Sharma, A., Tiwari, R., & Zodpey, S. (2019). Size, composition, and distribution of human resource for health in India: new estimates using National Sample Survey and Registry data. BMJ Open, 9(4), e025979. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-025979

KPMG (2017). Human resources and skill requirements in the health sector. Ministry of Skill Development And Entrepreneurship and National Skill Development Corporation. Available from: https://skillsip.nsdcindia.org/sites/default/files/kps-document/Healthcare.pdf

World Health Organization (2020). Global Health Workforce Statistics database. World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.who.int/data/gho/data/themes/topics/health-workforce