There is a global shortage of healthcare professionals.
Developing nations across the globe experience much more dire situation compared to western nations.
Though India produces a large number of healthcare professionals, there is a significant number who migrate to other countries seeking better living conditions, remuneration, and higher training.
In fact, India is the largest exporter of medical professionals in the world.
In terms of the future, India has several advantages. India has a very large young workforce. There a large number of medical, nursing, and allied health schools training hundreds and thousands of professionals every year.
Though this potential is huge, there is a very important disadvantage Indian professionals face. Their skill levels vary tremendously, from pathetic to world class, across different educational institutions. This makes it difficult for Indian as well as overseas employers to be sure about the skills of the employee that they recruit.
Though there are standards and accrediting institutions, they do not get enforced uniformly.
One of the reasons why India is lagging behind in health indicators is that geographic variation in the availability of health facilities and skilled professionals. Some parts of the country have very poor access to health facilities comparable to the situation in Sub Saharan Africa.
The other major problem is the lack of skills and upgradation of a large number of professionals who are already in practice for many years. Most of them do not have an opportunity or access to credible and evidence based educational programs or skills enhancement training. Most of the upgradation for doctors comes from pharmaceutical companies, which may not always be unbiased.
The only way to improve skill levels of professionals is to design skill based courses and make sure that competency levels in these skills are monitored and signed off.
Short courses ranging from couple of days to couple of weeks is ideal for those already working in various settings. For those in a formal educational program it is best if the institution invests in a skill and simulation laboratory.
Such a lab could also train working professionals on a periodic basis. These skilled professionals will then be able to provide much needed care as well as improve the overall health of the nation.
IHM International, with its offer of certificate and diploma courses aims to do just that – improve the skills of healthcare professionals, thus making a difference to the health of the nation.
Dr. Varghese Philip