Strategy for New India @ 75: Health Sector
The government think tank Niti Ayog has unveiled the Strategy for New India @ 75 which define clear objectives for 2022-23. The strategy document with 41 chapters has been disaggregated under four sections, which are: Drivers, Infrastructure, Inclusion and Governance. The document makes the recommendations related to the health sector under the Drivers section.
Strategy for New India @ 75: Health Sector Recommendations
The document makes important recommendations to improve the health sector scenario in the country. The major recommendations are:
- Enactment of the National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, 2017 since the regulatory bodies, the Medical Council of India and the Nursing Council of India have failed to ensure adequate availability and quality of health
- Revamping of the regulatory system of nursing education to ensure quality training in nursing schools, developing centres of excellence in nursing and enhancing the stature of government nurses.
- Creating conditions to facilitate import of doctors, especially those of Indian origin working abroad, deploying teachers from universities abroad as visiting professors at AIIMS or NIEs and linking at least 40 per cent of district hospitals with medical colleges to address the shortage of doctors in the country.
- Developing framework for the deployment of doctors and specialists from the private sector to government hospitals on a visiting or honorary basis and expanding the system of Diplomate of National Board (DNB) and Diplomas from College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) to address the shortage of doctors.
- Establishment of a Council to ensure standardization of education and putting in place quality control mechanisms for educational institutions, teaching methods and workforce management of allied health professionals.
- The Niti Ayog also suggests putting in place an updated curriculum for medical and allied professions that keep pace with the changing dynamics of public health, policy and demographics.
- Creating a cadre of primary healthcare practitioners by introducing a three-year competency-based dynamic course for primary, community and family medicine and partner with private hospitals or private medical practitioners to skill technicians, nursing and para-nursing as well as para-medical staff to deal with the paucity of health professionals.
Acute Shortage of Doctors in India
As per the reports, about 10.23 lakh allopathic doctors registered with the MCI or state medical councils. Niti Ayog estimates that around 8.18 lakh doctors may actually be available for active service assuming 80% availability. This puts the doctor-population ratio of India at 1:1613 against the WHO norm of 1:1000. The other big concern is the disparity between states and those between urban and rural areas.