There was a shortage of 4,833 primary health centres (PHCs) across India and over 800 rural hospitals were functioning without a single doctor, Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss told parliament Wednesday. “A total of 807 PHCs are working without a single doctor,” Ramadoss said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. There are a total of 22,370 primary health centres functioning across the country, and the shortfall is of 4,833 PHCs, he said. Ramadoss said there are only 15,546 female health assistants against a requirement of 22,370. PHCs function as the first contact point between villagers and medical officers. They render curative, preventive, promotive and family welfare services to rural Indians. Giving details about the status of community health centres, the minister said there is a shortage of 2,525 CHCs across the country. Of the total 4045 CHCs, 26 are running in rented buildings, 306 in panchayat buildings. He said 449 buildings are under construction and 199 buildings need to be constructed, and that there are only 5,117 specialized doctors working in these CHCs but the requirement is a whopping 16,180. Against a demand for 4,045 radiographers, only 1,740 were working in such centres. In both PHCs and CHCs there is a requirement of 50,685 nurses and midwifes but only 29,776 are in position. CHCs are established and maintained by the state governments. A CHC has at least 30 indoor beds and provides facilities for emergency obstraetrics care and specialist consultations. The shocking state of rural health care facilities was earlier highlighted by a Planning Commission report that also pointed fingers towards the dilapidated government-run hospitals. The plan panel in its report earlier this month said India lacks 60,000 doctors.