Beyond NEET: Allied Health Professions - an emerging and viable career option

Beyond NEET: Allied Health Professions - an emerging and viable career option
Representational PictureFile Photo

Dr Javeed Kakroo

Around 35 percent of Indian Population comprises youth, many of them are clueless on what to choose as a career option. The fact is that traditional disciplines do not give us that mileage any more, it is estimated that nearly 6.1million India youth have lost jobs in 2020-2021 due COVID 19 Pandemic. Our education system too has evolved from generic to specific, conventional to creative job oriented of all sciences.

A career in the healthcare system has taken the lead, it is but natural that the first option in the healthcare industry would be to become a Doctor and enter for a graduate program in medicine. Given the competition and the number of seats available and the escalating cost of education be it in public or in the private sector, Youth’s expectations are dashed when they do not make it to medicine. There is no need to despair as we have options and alternatives in health care which can guarantee excellent job prospects besides a satisfying career. One of the most promising ones is the allied health profession (AHP).

Healthcare delivery is no longer just about doctors and nurses. A multi specialty or a single specialty can deliver quality health care only with the support of a variety of health care professionals. In the western countries allied health care professionals play an essential role across the value chain of health care services delivery. In the United States they comprise 60% of total health care professionals.

AHP’s include individuals involved in the delivery of health related services in Therapeutic, Diagnostic, Curative, Preventive, Rehabilitative interventions. They work in interdisciplinary health teams to promote, protect, treat or manage a person’s physical, mental, social, emotional and environmental health and holistic well being. They contribute to the delivery of health related services for evaluation identification and prevention of disorders. Rehabilitation and health system management studies intimated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHFW) indicate that demand for allied health care professionals is significantly higher than supply. India would need 6.5 million allied health professionals by the year 2024. The need for these health care professionals has now been realized by our government and strategies are in place to use their services.

Delivery of health care is increasingly becoming complex with the growing burden of diseases. The success of many health care activities requires the support of skilled and competent professionals. It is now a team effort drawing upon the expertise of both clinicians and non clinicians. The professional and health care providers were earlier known as Paramedical Staff at the basic level are now called allied health professionals. Their qualification could range from diploma to PhD degrees in various specialties. Today there is an urgent need for competent professionals who can handle highly sophisticated medical equipment.

Range of Expertise

After a medical or surgical line of treatment certain conditions need intensive rehabilitant for holistic treatment. It is here that allied health professionals like Physiotherapist, occupational therapist, Speech therapist, dialysis technologist, medical technologist, radiology technologist etc have a vital role to play. In the UK more than 84,000 AHP’s with the range of skills and expertise play key roles within the national health services. Australia’s Health system is managed not just by their doctors and nurses but also by the 90,000 university qualified and trained AHP’s vital to the system. According to the US Bureau of labor statistics AHP’s come under seven of the top ten fastest growing occupations. Passing of national allied and health care professional’s bill in the Parliament and the creation of a national council for allied health professions augurs well for the future professional in terms of job opportunities, recognition and pay packages in India.

The author is Microbiologist, Certificate Infection Control Auditor Kidney Hospital.

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