Shortage Of Healthcare Providers In India
Why is it in News?
According to a WHO database, India faces the problem of acute shortages and inequitable distributions of skilled health workers whose figures are lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil.
Relevance of the News:
The news highlights the status of health infrastructure of India.
Worst Hit States:
- The health sector employs 5 million workers, yet India continues to have low density of health professionals putting the country into the “critical shortage of healthcare providers” category.
- Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan are the worst hit while Delhi, Kerala, Punjab and Gujarat compare favorably.
Health Workforce of India:
- The health workforce in India comprises broadly eight categories, namely:
- oDoctors (allopathic, alternative medicine);
- oNursing and midwifery professionals;
- oPublic health professionals (medical, non-medical);
- oPharmacists; dentists; paramedical workers (allied health professionals);
- oGrass-root workers (frontline workers) and support staff.
As per WHO:
- Data on the prevalence of occupational vacancies in the health care system in India overall is scarce.
- Government statistics for 2008, based on vacancies in sanctioned posts showed 18% of primary health centres were without a doctor, about 38% were without a laboratory technician and 16% were without a pharmacist.
- India needs to design courses for different categories of non-physician care providers.
- Competencies (and not qualification alone) should be valued and reform must be brought in regulatory structures to provide flexibility for innovations.