About setting up new nursing colleges and policy for medical devices: Why it is good to have more nurses

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Source: The post is based on the following articles

“Why it is good to have more nurses” published in the Indian Express on 28th April 2023.

“Machines For Health – Policy emphasis on medical devices is welcome. But manufacturing needs many more industrial parks” published in The Times of India on 28th April 2023.

Syllabus: GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

Relevance: About setting up new nursing colleges and policy for medical devices.

News: Recently the government decided to set up 157 nursing colleges and announced a new policy for medical devices. The move will add more than 15,000 nursing seats.

About the government’s decision

Read here: Cabinet approves the Policy for the Medical Devices Sector

What is the rationale behind new nursing colleges and policy for medical devices?

Lack of nurses for population: The WHO recommends three nurses for a population of 1,000 people. According to official estimates, India currently has less than two nurses for 1,000 people.

A private report last year mentioned that the number of allied healthcare professionals needs to go up eight times to meet the country’s needs in the next 25 years.

Lack of enough investment: China and India have roughly similar population sizes. India’s medical technology market is about 20% of that in China. Moreover, only 15% of medical devices consumed here are made domestically.

What are the advantages of new nursing colleges and policy for medical devices?

Address the skew in nursing colleges: More than 40% of the country’s nursing colleges are located in Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are getting a major share of the new nursing colleges.

Ensure enough manpower for new initiatives: The government has been giving emphasis to setting up hospitals and medical colleges, including AIIMS, in many places to address regional imbalances. The private sector has also been increasing its footprint in the healthcare sector. These hospitals will require a regular supply of nurses.

Enhance the revenue-generating capacity of potential migrants: Migrant nurses have been, for many decades, a major source of remittance. These professionals are much sought after in hospitals in Europe, the Americas and West Asia. So, investing in nursing education will only enhance the revenue-generating capacity of Indians.

Make medical devices affordable: Getting policy, particularly making manufacturing right, will help in making healthcare more affordable. Any policy that increases the domestic scale and efficiency of diagnostic devices will address affordability issues in healthcare provision.

What more should be done?

Ensure proper training: a) India needs to equip these new nurses with enough skill sets required in a medical setup, b) India should facilitate proper communication training to avoid hostility between patients and healthcare professionals, c) India should equip caregivers with knowledge of the rapidly changing technologies in medical care, and d) Nursing institutes in the country currently do not provide nurses with adequate training to take up leadership positions. Hence, it should be provided.

Collaborate with states: The Centre at present support for four medical parks. But this is inadequate. Similarly, domestic manufacturing faces a challenge on account of high costs.

All the challenges can be reduced if both states and the Centre work together to establish industrial parks for medical devices. With this, critical infrastructure expenses can be shared.

The domestic market size in 2020 was $11 billion. The government hopes that the medical devices policy will push it up to $50 billion by 2030.

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