New Delhi: West Bengal has the maximum number of hospital beds in the public sector, according to the “COVID-19 in India: State-wise estimates of current hospital beds, intensive care unit (ICU) beds and ventilators” study published by the Centre for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy (CDDEP).
Published on April 20, 2020, the report by Professor Geetanjali Kapoor and others, used National Sample Survey and National Health Profile data to estimate that the state is among seven states of India that enjoys the bulk of hospital beds and ventilators. It said that West Bengal enjoyed 5.9 percent of all hospital beds and ventilators, closely followed by Telangana and Kerala (both enjoying around 5.2 percent of resources each). The other four states were – Uttar Pradesh (14.8 percent), Karnataka (13.8 percent), Maharashtra (12.2 percent) and Tamil Nadu (8.1 percent).
However, when looking specifically at hospital beds in the public sector, data showed that West Bengal has 78,566 beds out of 1,13,535 total beds in government hospitals. This is the highest number of public hospital beds in India. In comparison, Uttar Pradesh has 76,260 beds in government hospitals.
According to Census 2011 reports, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh’s 2021 populations were estimated to reach 10.19 crores and 23.50 crores respectively. This means that Bengal has more hospital beds for the general public despite having half the population of Uttar Pradesh.
Similarly, Gujarat that reported shortage of beds as per The Hindu report on April 10, 2021, recorded 20,172 beds in public hospitals out of 64,862 total beds. Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told media persons that 15,000 news beds would be provided within the following week. The state’s population was estimated to reach 7.15 crore by 2021.
On April 14, 2021, IndiaSpend also reported that West Bengal outperformed its neighbours and other large states that implemented Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) on several health indicators including infant and child mortality, child vaccinations and use of family planning methods, per the same NFHS data. Its report said that many states have shown worsening infant and child mortality, despite implementing PMJAY.