An ideal health workforce is multilayered and multi-skilled, with complementary roles delivering competent, comprehensive, continuous and compassionate care. Doctors and nurses are most identifiable, but a variety of allied health professionals and community health workers are also integral. These are the community health workers (CHWs) and the mid-level healthcare providers, Two other categories have been added across different countries, to meet growing but unmet healthcare needs.
Community health workers (CHWs) also act as community mobilisers and trusted links to the organised health services. India started deploying CHWs initially as mitanins in Chhattisgarh, and later built a nationwide army of accredited social health activists (ASHAs) as part of the National Rural Health Mission.
Perhaps it is best to diffuse the controversy over Community Health Providers by bringing them under the purview of the Allied Health Professionals Bill which is due to go before Parliament. The CHPs may not fit well into the NMC but surely they can be accommodated as allied health professionals. That may bring accord between the government and the medical profession.