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Forecasting the future need and gaps in requirements for public health professionals in India up to 2026

Forecasting the future need and gaps in requirements for public health professionals in India up to 2026

Tiwari, Ritika ORCID: 0000-0002-5078-8989, Negandhi, Himanshu and Zodpey, Sanjay (2019) Forecasting the future need and gaps in requirements for public health professionals in India up to 2026. WHO South-East Asia journal of public health, 8 (1). pp. 56-65. ISSN 2224-3151 (Print), 2304-5272 (Online) (doi:

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Current ambitious reforms in India mean that public health professionals (PHPs) will become an increasingly vital component of the health workforce. Despite a rapid growth in schools of public health in India, uptake of places by students without a medical background is low. This paper reports the results of an exercise to estimate the baseline supply of, and need for, PHPs in India in 2017 and to forecast possible supply-need scenarios up to 2026. Supply was estimated using the stock and flow approach and the service-target approach was used to estimate need. The additional need resulting from development of a new public health cadre, as stated in the National Health Policy 2017, was also included. Supply-need gaps were forecast according to three scenarios, which varied according to the future intensity of policy intervention to increase occupancy of training places for PHPs from a non-medical background: "best guess" (no intervention), "optimistic" (feasible intervention), and "aspirational" (significant intervention) scenarios. In the best guess scenario in 2017, i.e. with a low non-medical place occupancy of 60%, there is a supply-need gap of around 28 000 PHPs. In the absence of any intervention to increase place occupancy, this shortfall is forecast to increase to 45 000 PHPs by the year 2026. By contrast, in the aspirational scenario, i.e. with a high place occupancy of 75% for non-medical places, the baseline gap for 2017 of almost 26 000 PHPs reduces by 2026 to around 21 000 PHPs. By 2026, most new PHPs will be produced by public health training programmes offered by institutions other than medical colleges. Without significant interventions, India is likely to have a significant shortfall in PHPs in 2026. Policy-makers will have to carefully examine issues surrounding the current low uptake of non-medical public health seats and review the current framework regulating training of PHPs, in order to respond adequately to future requirements.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: India; MPH; Master of Public Health; public health; public health education; public health professional
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD61 Risk Management
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Human Sciences (HUM)
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2022 13:48

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