India is 81% short of surgeons, obstetricians, gynaecologists, physicians and paediatricians in community health centres (CHCs), according to the latest data from the ministry of health and family welfare.

Of 22,040 medical specialists required for these centres in India, half or 51% of posts have received government sanction to fill vacancies, of which 4,192 were “in position” as of March 31, 2016, health ministry data show.

A CHC is a referral centre for every four primary health centres and serves a 80,000 to 120,000 people.

Kerala, Tamil Nadu worse than BIMARU states

While CHCs in Sikkim, Lakshadweep, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and Daman & Diu are reported to have no specialists, Himachal Pradesh (98%), Kerala (96%) and Tamil Nadu (95%) reported shortfalls worse than India’s most backward states--Bihar (93%), Madhya Pradesh (78%), Rajasthan (78%) and Uttar Pradesh (84%)--clubbed together as BIMARU (‘sick’ in Hindi).

Source: Ministry of Health & Family Welfare

An “overall shortage of healthcare professionals” in the country, feelings of “professional isolation among healthcare professionals” and “unwillingness on their part to work in rural areas” were cited as reasons for the shortfall of professionals in public health facilities, according to this reply to the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) by the health ministry on July 28, 2017.

Latest data for Mizoram, Meghalaya and Chandigarh were unavailable, the health ministry said.

(Saldanha is an assistant editor with IndiaSpend and FactChecker.)