Augmenting healthcare workforce capacity in India: GAPIO submits position papers to Niti Aayog
According to Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Founder President, GAPIO, and Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group "Nurses are the backbones of every health system. They account for 50 percent of the global health workforce."
New Delhi: Boston Consulting Group (BCG) in association with the Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (GAPIO) jointly released two position papers with the aim to augment the healthcare worker capacity in India.
Titled "Reimagining Nurse's Role in India" and "Formalizing Allied Healthcare Workforce in India, the detailed papers shed light on the solutions for augmenting healthcare workforce capacity in India and were presented to Dr Vinod Paul member NITI Aayog and Mr. Amitabh Kant CEO, NITI Aayog.
According to Dr. Prathap C Reddy, Founder President, GAPIO, and Founder Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group "Nurses are the backbones of every health system. They account for 50% of the global health workforce, their roles are diverse from devoting their lives to caring for mothers and children, giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice, and looking after all age groups including the older people. They are often, the first point of care in the communities. As Rawsi Williams once said, "To do what nobody else will do, a way that nobody else can do, in spite of all we go through; that is to be a nurse."
"The years 2020 & 2021 are the year of nurses. The Allied healthcare workforce also plays a crucial role in diagnosis and treatment. The Government of India defines Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHP) as associates, technicians or technologists supporting the diagnosis and treatment of a medical condition, and support the implementation of any health care and referral plan, as per the recommendation of a qualified health professional. Given the continued shortage of both nurses and allied healthcare workforce in the overall healthcare system, India needs to review and drive transformation in this sector holistically," Reddy added.
Dr. Anupam Sibal, President GAPIO and Group Medical Director Apollo Hospitals Group said, "Nursing professionals form a significant part of the healthcare delivery system globally. While India has grown in the training infrastructure substantially in the last few years, the available seats would still not suffice to meet the demand. Many states see a persistent shortage in nursing. It is crucial to plan a holistic strategy for the nursing workforce in India that can comprehensively solve the challenges of adequate nursing staff as well as the quality of education and training of nurses in India."
Dr Nanda Kumar Jairam, Vice President, GAPIO said "We continue to face challenges in terms of the quality of Allied Healthcare Professionals. While there has been some progress, India still has a long way to go in formalizing this segment of the workforce and introduce the right quality controls. The Lok Sabha has passed the Allied Healthcare professions, Bill, to set up a central body that is responsible for regulatory oversight. This will bring India in line with global benchmarks, that have a nodal agency responsible for designing coursework, standardizing nomenclature of existing courses, defining essential qualifications for faculty, and designing upgrade programs for teachers and students. Hence, ensuring successful rollout of this Bill is of paramount importance."
Dr Sudhir Parikh, Secretary-General, GAPIO added "Studies from MOHFW and NSSO indicate that demand for allied health care workers is significantly higher than supply, with disparity also being observed across states. India could need 60,00,000 - 70,00,000 total AHP by the year 2024. The current training capacity at ~1.5 lakh seats per year would fall short of achieving our objectives. We need to enhance both the capacity and quality of Healthcare Workforce".
To address these challenges, the papers propose an integrated strategy. According to Ms. Priyanka Aggarwal, Managing Director and Partner, Boston Consulting Group "Solutions for issues concerning nursing, need to address lack of college infrastructure, focusing on states with limited infrastructure. Tagging of colleges with operational multispecialty hospitals needs to be developed. The attractiveness of the profession needs to be enhanced for better fill rates; including through building social respect for the profession and strengthening professional development and progression. There is an opportunity to enhance current skilling pedagogy and adopt new methodologies and tele Nursing, Robotic Nursing, Forensic Nursing etc. and adopt the global best practices. The availability of training faculty for nursing colleges also needs to be improved."
Mr. Kshitij Vijay vargiya, Partner, Boston Consulting Group said, "The Lok Sabha approval for The Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill, 2018 which formalizes education and licensing for the workforce and sets up State-level Councils for recognition of education and training institutions is a major milestone.
College infrastructure needs to be enhanced and awareness about job opportunities needs to be increased. The attractiveness of the profession needs to be increased by enhancing awareness in secondary schools, formalization of staffing and deployment norms and making career progression easier".