Q) In recent years the Health policy in India has put a greater focus on non-communicable diseases. Elucidate the importance of the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions Act in this regard. (150 Words)
GS 2: Health
Introduction: Non-Communicable diseases(NCDs) are a group of diseases that cannot be communicated from one person to another; They affect individuals over an extended period of time causing socio-economic burden to the nation.
The National Health Policy(NHP) 2017 has recognized the growing burden on account of NCDs and advocates an important change from very selective to comprehensive primary health care package. It focuses on diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, Hypertension etc. It also seeks to utilize the expertize of traditional medicine in this regard.
Provisions of National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals Act:
i. Creates standard for healthcare professionals: It establishes a statutory body or commission that frames policies and standards, regulate professional conduct and qualifications for allied healthcare professionals, besides providing uniformity of service standards across institutions.
ii. Wide application: Paramedics and allied healthcare workers include 50 categories of allied jobs such as lab technicians, radiographers, dieticians etc. which translates to around 8-9 Lakh professionals.
iii. Regulation: The Bill will set up a regulatory structure for 50 categories of allied healthcare and try and shift the treatment of patients from being doctor centric to team centric.
iv. Securing dignity of medical staff: The standards for regulation, training, eligibility and service have been coded by international yardsticks and according to International Labour Code (ILO) codes.
v. Recognition of their critical role: The paramedics and allied healthcare workers are critical part of the medical profession and their contribution is similar to doctors, if not more.
Importance of the act in addressing Non-Communicable diseases Challenge:
i. Increased burden of NDCs: The burden of NDCs is increasing rapidly which 10% of the population affective with chronic illnesses in 2020 which would increase to 19.5% by 2050. This requires continuous healthcare services.
ii. Preventive and Promotive healthcare: The NHP 2017 calls for preventive and promotive healthcare. This would be possible with standardized healthcare services, such as diagnostics etc.
iii. Geriatric care: With aging population, India needs more medical experts such as nurses who specialize in Geriatric care.
iv. Increasing mental sickness: In the wake of COVID-19 crisis, there has been a spike in the cases of mental sickness, which is expected to rise in future due to the changing lifestyle. This requires standardization of the psychologists.
v. Maternal Health care: This can help in early detection of various kinds of illnesses and deformities in the fetus. This requires both quality and quantity of healthcare professionals.
vi. Increased demand of Dieticians/Fitness Instructors etc: with decreasing avenues of physical work and increasing problem of obesity and diabetes etc. there is a greater demand for newer professionals.
vii. Traditional medicine: There is a great variety in the courses in the traditional medicine which require standardization
Limitations and Challenges:
Conclusion: Thus standardization of the various healthcare professionals would particularly help in improving healthcare services to address the preventive and promotive healthcare and addressing the issue of non-communicable diseases. This forms an important part of NHP 2017.