Will India Become the World’s Care Giver?

The Roman god after whom, the month of January is named has two heads one that looks back and the other that looks forward.

It is that time of the year, we take a stock of things and plan ahead. I am tempted to therefore to talk to you about the year that was and the years that will be.

Few weeks ago two events happened, one in New Delhi and other in Chattisgarh.

In New Delhi the Confederation of Indian Industry hosted the Service Conclave. I  attended  it. Some others from the film industry did.

The meeting was addressed by the Finance Minister and the Commerce Minister. It charted a national vision of exporting our services, health, tourism, entertainment, consulting and others globally. Health, wellness and beauty were earmarked as real growth sectors.

To export services we must have quality and standards. Fortunately some of our health players have achieved global standards and medical tourism is growing. The scope is getting bigger.

Just as we were focusing on quality and certification in Delhi, far away in Chattisgarh, thirteen women died in the prime of their youth to outright callousness, lack of quality and abysmally low standards of services.

When will quality come to our hinterlands and when will our primary health care system seek and get certification? I guess the doctors in Chaiisgarh and those who render world quality services in the metros underwent similar medical education.

India is short by of about 14 lakhs of doctors and 28 lakhs of nurses, I am told. We are also short by 18 lakh hospital beds. I often wonder why? Why is that we do not have enough medical seats and enough nursing colleges. Why are we in perpetual shortage of health professionals in this country?

Indian Global Grid of Compassion

But travel across the world and you know Indians are doctors and nurses to the world. The incredible grid of healing and compassion that we Indians have built around the globe is something we need to celebrate and be proud about.

Florence Nightingale once said 80 per cent of the world’s nurses are just about 11 years old. She was referring to the amount of nursing and caring work adolescent girls do in every home.

May be we should rewrite this and say that the vast majority world’s future care givers, doctors and nurses are just about 11 years old and they are mostly Indians. I would like to share the enthusiasm of those who participated in the Services Conclave and would like to believe that India holds the reservoir of human resources, that will take care of the world’s patients, senior citizens and those who are victims life style diseases.

Those future doctors and nurses are now in Indian schools.

That is how I see the future of India’s much spoken about demographic dividend. We have the potential of taking over the world’s health burden, its child care, its geriatric care and the increasing load of life style diseases. We have the people. We have the compassion. What we need is more competence, more world class training, more quality in our services.

To do so we should have enough of health care providers within India, enough doctors and enough nurses for India first and then the world at large. There are new health and wellness opportunities opening up and let us train our young people to gear up for them.