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Active Health Workforce AND May Be Half of Government Estimates: Study | India News

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The health workforce actually available in India could be a little more than half that estimated by the government. Although the migration of healthcare workers abroad is often cited as one of the main reasons for staff shortages, about a quarter of the medically qualified people available in India are outside the workforce, according to a study. just published.
Instead of 5.8 million healthcare workers as shown in the 2018 National Health Workforce Account (NHWA), the active healthcare workforce could be as low as 3.1 million as estimated in the periodic survey of the NSSO workforce from 2017-18, concluded the study by health researchers from the Indian Institute of Public Health in Delhi which was published on Monday.
“Government calculations are usually made on the basis of the registry of health professionals in the different municipalities, but these registries do not reflect those who migrated, died or did not enter the workforce. Therefore, the stock data at NHWA does not reflect actual availability, ”Dr. Anup Karan, corresponding author of the study, told TOI.
The study also found that a substantial proportion of active healthcare workers were not adequately qualified and therefore needed retraining. “A large proportion of medically qualified professionals, approximately 30% of nurses and 20% of doctors, are not working. We also find that a large proportion of those who do not work are women, and the majority are over 35 years of age. They don’t seem to find the job market conducive to work, ”Dr. Karan said.
According to the NSSO estimate, the density of human resources for health (HRH) per 10,000 inhabitants is only 16.7 (6.1 doctors and 10.6 nurses), which does not even reach the absolute minimum threshold of the WHO of 23 health workers per 10,000 inhabitants. This threshold was set in 2004-2006 linked to a single health service, delivery by a trained midwife, and therefore only doctors and nurses were counted. The NSSO estimate drops to just five doctors and six nurses for every 10,000 people after taking appropriate qualifications into account.
In 2016, the WHO revised the minimum threshold to 44.5 health professionals per 10,000 population, taking into account a broader range of health services and the potential contribution of different types of health workers, beyond the doctors, nurses or midwives. According to the study, the projected number of skilled health workers will increase from 1.77 million to 2.65 million in 2030. However, India will be below 1.1 million health workers in 2030 to even reach the threshold of 25 health workers per 10,000. The density will be 17.5 per 10,000 population in 2030. The study suggests that an expansion of the nursing supply to approximately 200% growth by 2030 to reach 2.02 million nurses by then could bring the total workforce to 3.45 million or 22.76 qualified personnel per 10,000.
“The focus is on improving production. But the government must also invest to encourage those outside the workforce to join. Even if 50% of these professionals come back, it will be a huge boost, ”Dr. Karan said.

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