It’s no wonder India is massively under-prepared for the crisis we face. In comparison to the expected demand for 1 million ICU beds for the COVID-19 patients by the end of May, the country has a projected 0.7 million ICU beds and just 4,000 or so ventilators and appalling doctor-patient and nurse-patient ratios. Many Indian hospitals still lack the quality checks required to avoid healthcare-acquired infections, and ambulatory consultations have either been discontinued or drastically shortened, leaving many more people lacking access to medical care. To help with the current situation india’s medical education regulator needs to rise.
At such a time, the NMC needs to constructively plan re-skilling courses for doctors and other healthcare professionals that are out of medical practice but want to assist with the COVID-19 case load directly by enrolling in hospitals that are ready with COVID-19 wards and potentially in hospitals in which they can interact with other patients or join a pool of counselors.
Though we are scrambling to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, India’s challenge of the burden of non-communicable diseases is also not going anywhere. So far, India has had a rigid system of medical education that has prevented the creation of a second or third line of professionals to fill the gap during crises. For India, this pandemic has many lessons, probably the greatest in healthcare. Many are rising to the challenge, hoping that India’s medical education regulator will rise too, helping to build the second and third line.