Public Health and Management Cadre
- In April this year, the Union government released a guidance document on the setting up of a ‘public health and management cadre’ (PHMC) as well as revised editions of the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS).
- The ‘public health and management cadre’ is a result of India’s National Health Policy 2017’s proposals.
- Most Indian states now have a teaching cadre (medical college faculty members) and a specialist cadre of doctors engaging in clinical services (with exceptions such as Tamil Nadu and Odisha).
- For public health practitioners, this framework does not afford equivalent prospects for advancement. One of the reasons for health-care professionals’ lack of interest in public health as a career option is this.
- The result has been costly to society: a persistent shortage of qualified public health workers.
- Some of these difficulties could be addressed by the planned public health and health management cadres.
- States have been instructed to develop an action plan, identify cadre strengths, and fill empty positions in the next six months to a year following the distribution of guidance materials.
Why is it relevant today?
- The last 15 years has been challenging, the initial threat of avian flu in 2005-06, the 2009-10 Swine flu pandemic; five further public health catastrophes of international concern between 2009 and 2019; the rising risks and regular emergence and re-emergence of novel viruses and diseases (Zika, Ebola, Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever, Nipah viruses, etc.)
- The COVID-19 epidemic shifted things around. Everyone had been seeking for public health specialists with field experience for months; they were just far and few between.
- It became evident that the terms “epidemic” and “pandemic” necessitated specialised knowledge in a variety of fields, including epidemiology, biostatistics, health management, and disease modelling, to name a few.
- Three years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Indian government committed to achieving universal health coverage through NHP 2017 — which entails access to a wide range of (preventive, promotive, curative, diagnostic, and rehabilitative) health-care services that meet certain quality standards at a cost that people can afford.
- The updated IPHS, as well as public health and management cadres, can assist India in achieving the NHP goal. State governments must act quickly and promptly to secure this.
Source: THE HINDU.
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