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Skill Development and Healthcare

Which are the benefits of skill development in health service?

Skill development in health service delivery contributes to:

1. Improved health outcomes

2. Women empowerment

3. Job creation (particularly for women and youth)

4. Economic development and growth

5. Achievement of the SDGs like SDG 1 (poverty elimination), SDG 3 (good health and well-being), SDG 4 (quality education), etc.

What is the status of healthcare workforce?

1. A combined density of doctors, nurses and midwives in India is around 30/10,000 people.

2. This is far below the threshold of 45.5/10,000 required to achieve Sustainable Development Goal – 3 (SDG 3).

3. India needs around 1.8 million doctors, nurses and midwives to achieve this threshold.

4. Considering the existing shortage of health workforce and the need for skilling, urgent mechanisms need to be established.

How the government aims to achieve UHC?

1. In 2017, the Government of India committed to Universal Health Coverage (UHC) through the new National Heath Policy (NHP).

2. UHC is a target under SDG – 3.

3. NHP 2017 proposed increasing the availability of skilled health human resources to address the shortage and inequitable distribution of health workforce.

4. NITI Aayog’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan for New India @75 also aims at generating 1.5 million jobs in the health sector by 2022-23.

5. India has intensified to increase access to health services through the Ayushman Bharat Programmes.

6. It has two components: setting up of Health and Wellness Centres and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).

7. Healthcare Sector Skill Council (HSSC) has been set up under the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship to skill 4.8 million people in the healthcare space.

Where the focus should be?

1. Apart from doctors and nurses, focus on filling up vacancies and skill development should be made on other categories of health workers also.

2. It should include allied health professionals, lab technicians, X-ray technicians, etc.

3. Targeted approach is needed to ensure that skilled workforce is available wherever needed.

4. There is a need for re-designing the training programmes to match the skills required to implement public health activities and create job opportunities for public health professionals.

5. Urgent mechanisms need to be established by increasing funding to improve availability of skilled healthcare workforce in India.

Why funding is essential?

1. The return on investment in health sector skill development is high and desirable.

2. This will contribute to India’s progress toward Universal Health coverage, accelerate economic growth and create employment.