Around 6.6 million allied health professionals short in India, finds a report
With an aim to fill the shortage of allied professionals in health services across the country, the Centre has decided to open one national and eight regional institutes of paramedical sciences. The announcement was made by Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on December 21. The national institute will be built in Najafgarh in Delhi and THE regional centres will be set up in Nagpur, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Bihar. The institutes will be established as autonomous bodies and will be funded by the Government of India. The land to set up the institutions will be made available by state governments.
The decision comes close on the heels of a report released by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI), a Delhi based advocacy group, which reported a shortage of around 6.4 million such professionals in the country. The report found the highest gaps in the states of Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh. PHFI has also recommended specialised educational degrees to allied health professionals, increasing employment opportunities and setting up of a standard regulating body.
“This would reverse the existing negligence of healthcare in rural areas. At present, these professionals are the ones who take care of primary health centres because doctors refuse to go there,” says Kavita Narayan, associate head of hospital services unit at PHFI. “We recommend diploma courses should at least be for six months plus internship and degree courses for two years with internship. We also want the institutions to be affiliated to a hospital or medical college to gain practical experience,” she adds.
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