Health Professionals

health-stethescopeNEW DELHI: India has a huge shortfall of 64.1 lakh allied health professionals with Uttar Pradesh accounting for the maximum shortage of over a million paramedics.

A report prepared by Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) shows a gap of 20.42 lakh dental assistance-related technologists, 18.22 lakh rehabilitation-related workforce, 8.93 lakh miscellaneous health workers and 8.58 lakh surgery and anaesthesia-related professionals.

As per the report, there is a gap of around 2.36 lakh medical technologists, 1.98 lakh surgical and intervention technology-related health professionals, 1.28 lakh opthalmology-related workers, 61,670 medical laboratory professionals and over 19,217 radiography and imaging experts.

The report prepared after a nation-wide study was presented to Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad and adopted by the Union Health Ministry for implementation of its recommendations.

It suggests increasing paramedic workforce by setting up allied health human resource institutes offering post-graduate and other shorter courses, besides seeking stricter regulation of such education through a separate over-arching body and making stricter norms to bring them on a par with world class.

Among states having the widest gaps in health manpower, Maharashtra comes second with 5.65 lakh less paramedics and Bihar third with 5.28 lakh shortfall. While West Bengal has 4.62 lakh less health workforce, there is a shortage of 4.22 lakh health professionals in Andhra Pradesh and 3.68 lakh less allied health professionals in Tamil Nadu.

As per Census of India estimates, there are only 3,587 dieticians, 13,678 optometrists, 16,240 medical equipment operators and 99,010 medical assistants, 2,658 dental assistants, 7,265 physiotherapists, 15,396 modern health associates for every 10,000 Indians, indicating poor density.

Based on estimates, largest gap of 23,000 ophthalmology professionals was found in Uttar Pradesh followed by Maharashtra (12,600) and a moderate gap of 10,300 to 12,000 in Bihar and West Bengal. Andhra Pradesh had a gap of 9,100.

The gap of rehabilitation-related professionals was the second largest among all categories, with gaps found in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh in numbers ranging from 2,40,800 to 1,08,100 workers.

Results based on adjusted indices showed the largest gap of 34,600 workers for surgical and intervention technologies in Uttar Pradesh, while moderate gaps in the range of 18,000 to 19,300 were found in Maharashtra and Bihar. West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh had gaps in the range of 14,400 to 15,700.

Medical laboratory technicians are needed mostly in Uttar Pradesh with 12,200 professionals, while such estimates ranged from 6,500 to 4,500 for Maharashtra and Bihar. The greatest need of radiology and imaging professionals is in Uttar Pradesh (adjusted estimate 3,600). Other states with gaps are Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Assam and Delhi.

Audiology and speech-related professionals account for the smallest gap among all Allied Health Professionals ( AHPs), with 1,500 of them needed in Uttar Pradesh. Other states with large gaps are Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

A total of 39,300 medical technologists are needed in Uttar Pradesh, with requirement in Maharashtra, Bihar, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh ranging between 16,500 and 22,000, taking into account access and efficiency parameters. (Source: TOI)