….But when the ground realities of an impoverished nation are not taken into perspective, the discourse becomes shallow, one-sided and unproductive. [source]
Nothing sums up the plight of the healthcare sector as the statement above. It is a common knowledge that India faces an unprecedented shortage of healthcare workers. The recent unfortunate incident of a janitor doing a minor surgical procedure in a Bulandshahar hospital has yet again triggered another round of discussions around healthcare workers shortage. The scenario is even more alarming when the underlying demand for building additional capacity is considered.
In the next 10 years, India needs to
- Double its number of doctors from the current supply of 0.75 million;
- Triple the number of nurses from the existing supply of 3.7 million; and
- Quadruple the supply of paramedics and technician assistants from 2.75 million presently.
Besides, recent trends like rapid technological advancement in the medical, diagnostic and management systems; and non- standardized training programs further make it imperative to anchor a formal training or education programs in the country. Lastly, there is a need to make the allied healthcare profession attractive for youngsters.
FICCI Task Force on Skill Gaps in Healthcare
To address these critical issues, we at FICCI, have set up a Task Force led by Mr Rajen Padukone, CEO, Manipal hospital along with other prominent industry members to improve the existing skill sets available in the country. The task force aims at (1) identifying skill gaps and (2) suggesting academic and training programs, related curriculum, and appropriate training requirements.
FICCI AICTE Collaboration to tackle Skills Shortage in Healthcare
With this view and to ensure convergence and standardization of training programs, the task force is collaborating with AICTE to develop 12 vocational courses in the allied healthcare domain. These training programs are tailored according to the seven levels under its National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) starting from grade IX of CBSE. The framework allows lateral entry and exit as well as vertical mobility for the students. At the same time, the framework promotes an all-inclusive approach to vocational education. It also draws on skill development as a potent tool for empowerment of the economically weaker sections. Besides, practical training in hospitals – one of the fundamental elements – is also ensured and aligned with industry requirement.
We have also set up an expert group for Paramedics and Allied Healthcare courses led by Dr V Khole, Former Vice Chancellor, Mumbai University and Dr Arati Verma, Member FICCI Skill Task Force in Health & Vice President – Health Sciences Education Initiatives, Max Healthcare. The Twelve Healthcare and Paramedic Course Curricula submitted to AICTE, include Bachelor in Paramedical Technician (BPMT) in Laboratory, Blood Transfusion, Radiography, Operation Theatre, Endoscopy, Neurology, Anesthesia & Critical Care, Medical Health Records, Emergency Medical Services, Renal Dialysis, Cardiology and Optometry. All these courses are competency-based modules and are open to revisions to ensure that the curriculum is guided by industry needs.
We are positive that such a step in long term will help avoid incidents like Bulandshahar, and at the same time, we believe such individuals and many others need help in upgrading their skills, thereby helping us solve the crisis at hand. It is only in our own interest.
Image Source: Calcutta Rescue