Healh sector can create jobs on a massive scale, particularly at the level of frontline health workers and others, but training and skilling the job aspirants is important, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) President K Srinath Reddy has said.
Citing a UN report of September, 2016, he said the report argued that health sector could provide new jobs on a large scale in the global economy, where employment opportunities were shrinking in the technology-driven industry and service sectors.
.it was argued that (in the UN report) in a global economy, where employment opportunities are shrinking in technology-intensive agriculture, technology-intensive industry and technology-intensive service sector, where people are looking for more jobs; health care sector, health sector itself is a great provider of new jobs and particularly at the level of frontline health workers, allied health professionals and others; need not be only doctors," he told PTI here.
Reddy, who was involved in the report, said expansion of health work force would contribute to economic growth as well.
"Think of India, where so many young people are looking for jobs... 10th class pass, 12th class pass, women in particular. You train them not only as auxiliary nurse midwifes, but nurses, allied health professionals, mental health counsellors, elderly care providers."
A huge array of jobs which could actually provide a number of essential services could be created. "At the same time create livelihoods. That is something we have to be able to look at in the Indian context," he said.
If India could train its youth into world class allied health professionals, it can not only meet its own health needs but also the health needs of a global population which is ageing, he said.
Most of the high income countries were ageing. They were not going to get health work force replacement from their shrinking youth population. In 1980s, our country were exporting plumbers to gulf. Then we started exporting software technicians and engineers.
"Now, the next two decades, three decades, we may be exporting health work force. Once we fulfil our own needs, of course," Reddy said.
Training and skilling the youth into competent allied health professionals was the vital issue and the country needs to invest in it, he said.
"We cannot compromise on quality...You need to establish standards, train them well," he said.
The government will have to design the whole framework for the purpose and the services of responsible players in private sector needs to be utilised for training and skilling, he said.
"But ensure that they (private sector) are bringing in quality and are using their educational institutions in a non-exploitative manner," Reddy said.
Emphasis on primary health care services would help in early detection of health complaints, reducing the number of people seeking secondary and tertiary care, he said.