India will set up a central public health cadre for medical professionals along the lines of Central services officers recruited through the Union Public Service Commission. As part of the plan, all health professionals, including those working for the directorate general of health services (DGHS), will be recruited through the permanent cadre and help the government implement healthcare policies.
The plan was approved by health minister Mansukh Mandaviya at a recent Chintan Shivir held in Gujarat to discuss the challenges faced because of the Vovid pandemic.
“This is a new proposal. The mechanism will decide who will be qualified to come into public health. It might be doctors, it might be from the nurse’s cadre, or it might be from a non-medical group. This will take a little time. Yes, it has been given the go-ahead from the top leadership, and it is very important for India because we are dealing with a dense population where we need public health cadre,” a government official who was part of this meeting in Gujarat said, requesting anonymity.
“The public health cadre will help the government in implementing healthcare policies. We do have public health departments in medical colleges, but the public health cadre will play a much more important role. The cadre should be the implementing arm of the public health policies. Hence, the framework is being constituted within the health ministry,” the official said.
“The initial discussion started in February this year and now has been approved by the health minister. I think Covid has convinced policymakers that there is a need for a public health cadre. Medical health professionals have been urging for this system for the last 30 years,” said another government official on the condition of anonymity.
Queries emailed to the health ministry spokesperson on 11 May remained unanswered.
“We do have public health doctors in the government of India and medical colleges. But I think it is very important to have them at the field, state, district and sub-district levels,” said Preeti Sudan, former union health secretary. LiveMint