Strengthening Access to Healthcare: The Case for Skilling Allied Health Professionals in India
By: Anagha Wankhede, Chaitanya Pathak, Harsha Sanyukta
The overburdening of India’s healthcare infrastructure, especially during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, has made it evident that the healthcare system is grossly understaffed to meet the needs of a growing population.
A widely overlooked aspect of healthcare is the category of healthcare workers termed as Allied Health Professionals (AHPs). This cadre includes technicians, therapists, social health activists and caregivers who provide support with diagnostic, therapeutic, pharmaceutical, counselling, rehabilitation and health management systems. Despite the crucial ancillary support that these workers provide to doctors, nurses and patients, their role as the backbone of the healthcare system often goes unnoticed.
India is short of over 64 lakh AHPs. With only 8 doctors, 6 nurses, and 8 allied health workers per 10,000 Indians, the overall density of healthcare workers falls considerably short of the WHO-recommended minimum of 44.5 professionals for a population of this size. There is an urgent need to close this glaring gap, hence mandating the need to increase skilling of AHPs.
Read our article that explores the need for skilling initiatives for AHPs, and suggests possible avenues for ecosystem-level interventions:
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