India has a vast healthcare system, but there remain many differences in quality between rural and urban areas, as well as between public and private healthcare. India’s Ministry of Health was established in 1947 and the government has made health a priority in its series of five-year plans to be primarily administered by the States. In order to address lack of medical coverage in rural areas, the government launched the National Rural Health Mission in 2005 that focuses resources on rural areas to improve health care in India’s poorest regions. The healthcare system in India is universal, but exhibits discrepancy in the quality and coverage of medical treatment.
Need for skilled workforce in the healthcare industry
While the healthcare industry is growing rapidly in India, it faces a critical challenge of having the need for a professional and skilled workforce. It is estimated that the current requirement for allied healthcare professionals (AHP) in India stands at 6.5 million as against a supply of less than 300,000. According to the National Skill Development Corporation, by 2018, the healthcare technician demand-supply gap in India will be 445,000 (84 per cent shortfall).
Having realized this requirement, GE Healthcare Institute started to bridge the gap and transform healthcare delivery in India. On October 17, 2016, Tata Trusts, India’s oldest non-sectarian philanthropic organizations and GE Healthcare, an American multinational company manufacturing medical diagnostic and monitoring systems, partnered together to skill 10,000 youth for jobs in the healthcare sector. The partnership focuses on bridging the skills gap in healthcare technical or operating staff by providing 10,000 skilled candidates across the next 3 years. The programme provides a stable, respectable career in the Healthcare Industry, which is one of the upcoming sectors in India.
Il&FS and GE Healthcare partner to skill healthcare professionals
To extend benefits of programme and to reach every part of the country, GE Healthcare Institute, partnered with IL&FS Skills to implement these selected programmes in multiple states. IL&FS Skills, a joint venture between IL&FS Education and National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), was founded in 2011 to address the employability gap in India by creating world class training facilities and deliver market led Technical Vocational Education Trainings (TVET), leading to jobs that have impacted 1.7 million youth in various sectors, including Healthcare.
The project offers long term 1 year courses that will help people graduate as X-ray, Radiography, Anaesthesia, Operation theatre and Cardiac Care Technicians. The candidates will also undergo continuous assessment and internships during the course of this programme. The successful candidates, upon clearing exam shall be granted a certification leading to placement in various hospitals.
The programme follows the process of 6 months of classroom training, followed by 1 month of observership and 5 months of internship/hands-on training leading to assessment and certification.
How the IL&FS and GE Healthcare skill development program is implemented
As part of the programme, the enrolled candidates are receiving an interest free loan scholarship from Tata Trusts upon qualifying for the course and are being trained under the guidance of GE Healthcare on Technician Courses. GE Healthcare Institute (GE HCI) has designed and developed these courses through a mix of both classroom training and interactive training exercises. Through its presence pan India, IL&FS Skills has been contributing towards infrastructure availability, classrooms and labs, trainers, mobilization, training, and placement of students (internship and placement).
The unique skilling programme is aimed primarily at high school graduates from economically weaker sections, seeking to educate and engage them through internships, and empower them for employment. The courses are intended for underprivileged youth such as school dropouts, and women, with a view to skill, re-skill and upskill them. The candidates also undergo continuous assessment and internships during this programme.
The skill project has been shortlisted for the prestigious Financial Times/ International Finance Corporation (FT/IFC) Transformational Business Awards 2018 under the category of Achievement in Sustainable Development: Education, Knowledge and Skills category.
Skilling programmes targeted at underprivileged youth, and women, are fundamental in not just empowering them and keeping their aspirations alive, but also in strengthening the entire healthcare ecosystem. The alumni of the project work with esteemed organizations like Fortis, Apollo Clinic, Jupiter hospitals, Nidan Groups, Nidan Diagnostics, NM Medical, Dr. Lal Path, Sharda Hospitals, Mahajan Imaging, Focus Imaging and so on. Availability of quality healthcare to the community largely depends upon the efficacy with which each level discharges their duties, where education and training have a key role to play. This project is a sincere effort to create social and economic impact through establishing relevant linkages between industry, skilled youth and quality of care.
Guest Authors: Vandana Bahri, firstname.lastname@example.org and Anshul Singhal, email@example.com