In the beginning, when COVID-19 was spreading like a wildfire in the western countries, we thought that India did a wonderful job in fighting the global pandemic. With the nationwide lockdowns and individual states working hardly on contact tracing, the spread of COVID-19 was slow in India compared to many other nations. A few months later, when we are going through the Unlock 4.0 phase, India is standing as the third worst-affected country by COVID-19. Where did we go wrong?
There could be multiple factors involved in the spike of COVI-19 cases in India. However, on the grassroots level, we can assume that the Indian healthcare system was not in a state to handle a global pandemic like COVID-19. The number of doctors available of 1.35 billion population itself is proof to validate that fact. As per the data available, only eleven among India’s 28 states meet the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation, which is a standard ratio of 1:1000 (doctor to population). Unfortunately, none in the public healthcare sector manage to make the cut.
In an event like COVID-19, meeting the required number of doctors may not be sufficient. In many hospitals, doctors are working in shifts to avoid the risk of infection. We also have a situation where doctors are contracting the virus and being quarantined. Apparently, the pandemic has taught us a few important lessons. Unless we invest more in the development of skilled healthcare workers and quality infrastructure, the country will never be able to fight a pandemic like COVID-19 in the future.
In this issue, we have identified “25 Must-Watch Medical Colleges in India” that have been making the much-needed skilled manpower of India’s healthcare sector. In these challenging times, they have been successful in making many adaptations, such as effective online instruction, which are catalyzed by the urgency of the pandemic. On the cover, we feature, Adichunchanagiri Institute of Medical Sciences, one of the few institutes in the country providing health care and medical education of the highest standards to the rural population.