India’s health has been improving steadily over the last few years, but it is not yet the picture of good health it can be.
According to a recent report, healthcare in India is at a crossroads. The rise of non-communicable diseases (NCDs, such as heart disease and cancer), along with substantial gaps in the country’s healthcare infrastructure, are compounded by a shortfall of skilled healthcare talent. A study done by Public Healthcare Foundation of India indicates that the current requirement for Allied Healthcare Professionals (AHP) in India is nearly 6.5 million as against a supply of less than 300,000.
Now, India’s healthcare system will see the beginnings of an overhaul that will raise the standard of healthcare for millions of people across the whole country.
The Skill India initiative, developed by GE Healthcare, has partnered with leading healthcare and education experts to set up institutes across the country that will train and educate over 100,000 new and existing healthcare professionals over the next five years.
Speaking at an announcement yesterday, John L. Flannery, President and CEO of GE Healthcare, said, “The initiative is among the largest skill enhancement programs for GE Healthcare in the world. This is a great example of how we can use our scale and experience to partner with India. GE Healthcare was the first company to manufacture high-end healthcare equipment in India in 1991. As an innovator of affordable, localized solutions, our goal has been to enhance accessibility to quality healthcare for every Indian. We hope that the skilling of 100,000 healthcare professionals will address an important Government priority of bridging the skill deficit.”
“This is our biggest education initiative ever in healthcare and a great model with leading public and private healthcare and education experts as partners. Availability of skilled healthcare professionals is a big challenge in many countries and we would like to replicate the success of this model in other countries” he added.
After the Make in India initiative, launched in September 2014, the Indian government another key initiative to “Skill India”. This new initiative focuses on job creation and entrepreneurship for all Indians and is expected to help empower 500 million people with the right tools for better employment by the year 2020.
Terri Bresenham, CEO of GE Healthcare India, said, “This is a landmark initiative in our 25-year history in India. As a leader in healthcare in India and globally, GE will continue to play a crucial role in the growth of India’s healthcare sector.”
She continued, “Growing the healthcare ecosystem in India is a key part of our growth strategy. We stand committed to partnering with public and private players in the healthcare sector to make this venture a success.”
The first institute, fully funded and run by GE India has commenced operations in Mumbai. Its first cohort of students are starting its Radiology Technologist course, which will turn out skilled and competent healthcare professionals. A second Institute was inaugurated today in partnership with Max Institute of Healthcare Education and Research (MIHER) by Mr John Flannery, President and CEO, GE Healthcare. GE has signed MOU with several leading private and public partners to commence healthcare education and training institutes across the country.
GE Healthcare intend to set up at least one institute per state over the next five years, helping to train over 100,000 new and existing healthcare professionals, equipping them with the tools to bridge the gaps in India’s healthcare system. These trained healthcare professionals infused into the system will help carry India into a new era of accessible, affordable and effective healthcare for all Indians.
India’s Minister of State for Skill Development, Entrepreneurship and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, said, “A skilled workforce is the key to growth of any nation. India needs a large workforce to match the aspirations of the country. Just 2% of the workforce in India is skilled as compared to 60% in Australia, 47% in China, 80% in Japan etc. The need of the hour is to create the ecosystem to maintain a constant supply of trained talent that is ready to join the mainstream and contribute to the growth of the industry and the country. We need resources, partnership and support from organizations like GE for Skilling India and Making in India.”