From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Not Much
Mains level : Healthcare lacunae in India
- Despite the health sector employing five million workers, India continues to have low density of health professionals.
Critical Shortage in India
- India faces the problem of acute shortages and inequitable distributions of skilled health workers as have many other low- and middle-income countries.
- The figures for India are lower than those of Sri Lanka, China, Thailand, United Kingdom and Brazil, according to a WHO database.
- This workforce statistic has put 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 in India
- The health workforce in India comprises broadly eight categories, namely: doctors (allopathic, alternative medicine); nursing and midwifery professionals; public health professionals (medical, non-medical); pharmacists; dentists; paramedical workers (allied health professionals); grass-root workers (frontline workers); and support staff.
- 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.
- The need of the hour is 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.