The first is to expand the circle of doctors and specialists, while the second will prepare a new workforce and train them in basic medical functions involved in Covid-19 management.
About 20 training and reorientation ‘modules’ are being planned to prepare a bigger workforce for Covid-19 management in a variety of settings – from full-fledged hospital management to small health facilities and home care of patients.
On May 29, the Centre reconstituted empowered groups to set up one on ‘Augmenting Human Resources and Capacity Building’.
The group has been holding meetings with all stakeholders to draw up an action plan to ready a workforce that will be able to handle any possible surge in infections as well as manage a ramped-up Covid-19 health infrastructure, especially increased beds in Intensive Care Units and those with Oxygen facilities.
On increasing the number of specialists and doctors, discussions have begun with the National Medical Commission to bring in doctors across specialties and disciplines under the larger Covid-19 management plan. Short, basic Covid-specific modules – for medical experts across categories – are under discussion, to ramp up coverage of overall expert care. Similarly, modules are being considered to rope in final-year medical students as well as interns to lend a hand, in case of a surge.
The Indian Nursing Council will also get drawn into the plan for a quicker inflow of trained workforce through short-term training for assistant nurses. The next level to be trained will be AYUSH practitioners, so that they can also pitch in, especially in basic patient care.
The second set of training will be linked with nursing staff.
A new workforce will be mobilized over three months to assist nursing staff in hospitals and ease their burden.
The Union skill development ministry has already initiated the plan to train about 100,000 individuals and has sought workforce requirement details from districts.
About six ‘job roles’ have been identified for training.
These are, general duty assistant – to assist patients in various activities; home health aide – to assist at home set-ups and smaller Covid-care centres; emergency medical technician, medical equipment technology assistant and phlebotomist, apart from general duty assistant (advanced) level.
Paediatric care is another key component of the manpower plan, given concerns over children becoming vulnerable to the virus in subsequent waves. A special module on paediatric care for Covid-19 has been envisaged, those involved in the discussions confirmed to ET.