Dr BR Shamanna, associate professor at School of Medical Sciences, University of Hyderabad (UoH), has been selected for the prestigious Public Health Leadership (PH-LEADER) programme at Emory University, USA. In an interview with Express, he says health education system in India needs to focus more on creating best human resources with knowledge and understanding of multidisciplinary domains which can impact health care service delivery.
What are the activities that you would engage during PH-LEADER programme?
PH LEADER is an one-year assisted mentorship programme by world experts in non-communicable diseases through the Emory Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Under this programme, we will participate in webinars and attend complete readings on the issues of non-communicable diseases which are contextual in nature. We also get to attend an intensive three-week programme at Emory and conceptualise projects and implement them.
The description of PH-LEADER programme says it will develop the next generation of health professionals. What are the changes or updates one can expect from the future health professionals?
This programme will provide the participants an opportunity to develop their capacity in addressing the very important emerging area of non-communicable diseases. The changes or updates that one can expect from them is the higher understanding of disease, systematic efforts towards planning. However, more emphasis will be on policy related issues like formulation, implementation and advocacy for sustainable programme development
Do you think our education system has the capacity to create enough quality health professionals to meet India’s future requirements?
We do not have a dearth of educational institutions to educate and train health professionals. But mere buildings and institutions is not sufficient. A very critical area in health is human resources. We need to create the best human resources with knowledge and understanding of multi-disciplinary domains that can have impact on health care service delivery.
Where does India stand when it comes to the quality of health professionals?
Some of the best performing health care professionals in the Western world and developed economies are from India. The present US Surgeon General is an Indian origin doctor.
Why do our health care professionals excel elsewhere but not in India?
Perhaps we are unable to utilise their services. I know we have issues related to regulation and so on. But the more pertinent issues are related to quality of education and our teaching and training methods in our institutions. I think we do have a systemic problem that needs a revamp and re-engineering when it comes to quality of health care education.
The Centre spends only 1 percentage of its GDP on healthcare budget. Do you think it’s enough for a country like India?
It is critical to also know that many a times even this one percent does not get spent. National Health Accounts has shown us where exactly the monies are being spent and what is depressing is that nearly 75 pc of health care is purchased through out of pocket means.