In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people have lost their jobs, incomes, and livelihoods. Many industry sectors and organizations have had to redesign the whole recruitment process due to the pandemic. The pandemic coupled with technological disruptions are transforming the way staffing is done. Industries are adopting new models of hiring the workforce.
The webinar series SAHI Samvaad is a collaboration of SAHI.ai and NSN that aims to initiate and continue our conversations around skills, jobs, industries, and talent. Through SAHI Samvaad, we attempt to bring in perspectives on how different industries are looking at the future of their workforce.
The first webinar in the series was on “Right Skills for the Right Jobs in Healthcare”. The eminent panelists for the webinar were Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Chairperson, LabourNet; Mr. Sujay Santra, Founder and CEO, iKure; and Mr. Vaibhav Tewari, Co-Founder and COO, Portea. The session was moderated by Dr. Madhuri Dubey, Founder, National Skills Network.
Right Skills for the Right Jobs in Healthcare
Speakers in the panel broadly focused on the need for capacity building in the healthcare sector considering the impact of the pandemic, addressing the challenge of rural healthcare – awareness, vaccination, treatment; and addressing the demand for skilled healthcare professionals.
After a brief discussion on the above-mentioned themes, each speaker shared three outcomes/action points that are extremely crucial when it comes to skill development and training of frontline workers/ healthcare workers.
You can watch the complete webinar on our YouTube channel, for which the link is given below. Timestamps for each of the speaker is mentioned besides their name for easy navigation.
Dr. Gayathri Vasudevan, Chairperson, LabourNet (8.52- 15.06)
“Healthcare is likely going to be the booming sector in the country. The third wave (of COVID-19 pandemic) can only be prevented by focusing on the capacity building of healthcare manpower. We must provide good livelihood options for people in healthcare, compensate them well and on time through various opportunities in the sector.
Private sector solutions are needed for addressing the issues of voluntary cadre workers like ASHA workers and ANMs. This helps in improving their income and livelihoods and the workers will be committed to the health outcomes of the community they are working with.”
The three important action points: (32.31-35.25)
- Vaccination: Vaccination is very important for India right now. We must declutter the role of a vaccinator, plan better and vaccinate at scale. When we look at it from a jobs perspective, if we have to vaccinate one billion population, we might need about 100 million people to be trained to vaccinate. This can be a great income-earning opportunity for many. The cadre that is created should be the backbone of the healthcare system in the country.
- Medical Equipment: We need service centers for medical equipment, similar to how we have mobile or auto service centers. We also need trained people who can install and manage these.
- Home care: We need to look into what kind of workforce is needed to assist and provide healthcare services at home. We must also look at different home isolation models and train accordingly.
Honorable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launches six customised crash courses for the COVID-19 frontline workers – https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/six-customized-crash-course-programmes-launched-for-covid-19-frontline-workers/
Mr. Sujay Santra, Founder and CEO, iKure (16.03-20.06)
“Telemedicine was allowed just before the lockdown last year. However, it needed a lot of behavioral shifts to accept telemedicine among patients, paramedics, doctors, and other stakeholders. In the rural areas, we sent people who can assist in aided telemedicine. They would go door-to-door equipped with medic bags, to capture the data on an application and arrange for a call with the doctor.
In rural areas, the right management and right assessment have been critical to contain the virus spread and anxiety. We also need to build a strong frontline workforce with the right skilling to operate the machines and to provide the right support to the patients. This will help us in preventing and preparing in case of any third wave of the pandemic.”
The three important action points: (35.36-39.20)
- Vaccination hesitation: This is a behavioral challenge. It not always the unavailability of resources but the hesitation to take the vaccination or medicine is a challenge. We need a 3-step approach to address this – the right message and the right tools at the right place.
- Addressing the skill gap: One of the challenges is to address the skill gap triggered due to the COVID-19 pandemic like to train people in operating an oxygen cylinder, a pulse oximeter, and other medical equipment.
- Technology-adoption challenges: With new medical equipment, tools, and technologies coming up every few months, we need to ensure that the existing workforce is constantly reskilling and upskilled with refresher courses. This will help them stay relevant to the changing demands.
Mr. Vaibhav Tewari, Co-Founder, and COO, Portea (21.01-27.48)
“From the perspective of home healthcare, elderly care, pandemic management, we need skilled and trained workforce in place to have a basic level of healthcare readiness. Home healthcare is the need and highly valuable in the current times.
There is high demand for critical care nurses, neonatal nurses, people who can install, manage and repair the medical equipment. Another significant area where training is critical is the cadre that can take care of the elderly both during the pandemic and otherwise.”
The three important action points: (39.34- 42.02)
- Nursing: We must invest in the training of nurses both in rural and semi-urban areas.
- Community healthcare entrepreneurs: We need to create a cadre that can look after a community and support them with all their healthcare needs, by leveraging technology that is available. These are the people one can reach out to before they go to a healthcare center or a hospital. As a country, we must invest in building this cadre.
- General Duty Assistants: There is a tremendous need for skilled and trained General Duty Assistants across the healthcare spectrum including elderly care. Training them and constantly upskilling them in different areas of healthcare assistance must be one of the biggest focus areas for us.
The pandemic has highlighted the fact of shortage of skilled workers in the healthcare sector in India. This calls for an urgent need to train, reskill and upskill the workforce to be able to address the challenges of the virus.
Against this backdrop, some of the in-demand job roles in the healthcare industry in India today are – Phlebotomy Technicians, Medical Lab Technicians, Home Healthcare Aides, and Geriatric Aides, Telehealth Coordinators, and Pharmacy Technicians and Assistants.
We hope our dialogue and discussions initiated through SAHI Samvaad on Right Skills for the Right Jobs in Healthcare were insightful and helpful for various stakeholders in the domain to focus on certain areas of skilling to strengthen the healthcare system in the country.
If you have any queries regarding the right skills, right jobs and hiring right candidates, you can reach out to team SAHI at firstname.lastname@example.org