A cause of great concern: Shortage of Neurologists

Dr Sanjay Singh from the Association of American Epileptologists of Indian origin observed that only about 50 to 60 neurologists graduate every year in India. Due to this the country lacks sufficient number of doctors to provide healthcare to its 1.2 billion population.

“New York City alone produces more neurologists than the whole of India does,” he said, while speaking at a colloquium on drug resistant epilepsy (DRE) here on Friday.

Dr Singh also put forward a proposal mentioning a tie-up with NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences) on an educational exchange programme, which involves 10 young neurologists visiting the US for experience and required exposure.

Dr VM Katoch, director general, Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and secretary, Department of Health Research, Government of India said, “More than the doctor-patient ratio, what matters is providing the best and affordable healthcare”.

“The density and diversity of demography in the huge country poses a great challenge to the healthcare providers in India”, he said.

Also, he added that even in terms of identifying drug resistance to Epilepsy in India, it is difficult since India has so much diversification with our mixed race. We have found 15 genes which have developed resistance to epilepsy drugs, but we want research to go ahead in the right direction.

Nimhans director Dr P Satishchandra said that there are over 1,000 neurologists and over 1,500 neurosurgeons catering to India’s population which is four times more than that of the United States of America.

“However, the government is increasing the number of medical seats. Although the number of doctors will increase eventually, we cannot wait. We need to create a parallel setup by training the doctors. We have framed guidelines in treating epileptic patients and perform over 300 epileptic surgeries every year in the country,” he added.

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