India’s healthcare sector is booming at a pace unprecedented in history. The country has extremely sophisticated and well-defined healthcare systems that meet or exceed international standards. Unfortunately, healthcare sector of India has several gray patches too: basic services are often unavailable to rural and economically weaker segments of the society.
The Indian government and various top health insurance companies are taking corrective measures aimed at spreading out excellent services to all citizens and provide health-related plans to maximum people, regardless of their location or financial standings. This presents several opportunities to make a career in the healthcare sector of India.
Reason-1: Current Healthcare Status in India
These initiatives are indeed reaping rich dividends, reflected by figures disclosed by India Brand Equity Foundation studies. IBEF report states, healthcare sector ranks among the biggest in terms of revenues and employment in this country. The industry has grown at Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent from 2008 to 2017. During the financial year 2017-2018, it was estimated at US$ 160 billion and is expected to grow to US$ 280 billion by the year 2020. Further, IBEF quoting studies by Deloitte-Touche Tohmatsu India says: “The healthcare market can increase threefold to US$ 372 billion by 2022. India is experiencing 22-25 percent growth in medical tourism and the industry is expected to double its size from the present (April 2017) US$ 3 billion to US$ 6 billion by 2018.”
Reason-2: More Doctors Than Required
India’s healthcare sector presents immense opportunities for aspirants to make a great career and earn lucrative income in the field. Here, it is important to note that career in healthcare does not mean getting qualified as a medical practitioner. In fact, state-run and private medical schools in India churn out between 50,000 to 55,000 doctors every year. However, about 60 to 70 percent of these cannot find employment nor set up own clinics due to a plethora of reasons. One of them is the inability to spread medical services to rural India, which is now being tackled by Central and state governments. As healthcare spreads to rural parts of the country, unemployment rates among physicians will decline. Further, there are other professions within the healthcare sector for support services, where anyone can make a lucrative career.
Reason-3: Surge in Emergency Medical Services
A report published by American government’s National Library of Medicine states: “Emergency Medical Services are fragmented and not accessible throughout the country. Most people do not know the number to call in case of an emergency; services such as Dial 108/102/1298 Ambulances, Centralized Accident and Trauma Service (CATS), and private ambulance models exist with wide variability in their dispatch and transport capabilities. Variability also exists in EMS education standards with the recent establishment of courses like Emergency Medical Technician-Basic/Advanced, Paramedic, Pre-hospital Trauma Technician, Diploma Trauma Technician, and Postgraduate Diploma in EMS.”
However, this scenario is rapidly changing as private operators in collaboration Central and state governments are launching advanced EMS services in hitherto un-serviced parts of the country. Bangalore-based GVK Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI) now runs free ambulance services in collaboration with various state governments. GVK-EMRI services are now available in 16 Indian states and plans are afoot to expand the coverage to all parts of India. Hence, there is a huge scope for paramedics and other EMS professionals in this field.
Reason-4: Promotion of Medical Tourism
Since 2015, the government is actively promoting inbound medical tourism in India. This means, attracting patients afflicted with various medical conditions to seek treatment at hospitals and clinics in this country. With this objective, India’s Department of Commerce and Skills Export Promotion Council have launched a web portal, www.indiahealthcaretourism.com. Additionally, the country’s centers of medical excellence are being promoted abroad through India’s diplomatic missions. Visa rules for foreign nationals seeking medical treatment in India are also relaxed.
The website provides foreign citizens to book a treatment at participating Allopathic, Ayurveda, Unani, Homeopathy and other medical centers in India. As medical tourism to India gains impetus, a surge in demand for support staff such as nurses, caregivers, hospital technicians and other related fields is anticipated in coming years.
Reason-5: Initiatives of Ministry of AYUSH
According to IBEF, India is home to a total of 3,598 hospitals and 25,723 dispensaries that offer Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) treatments, thus ensuring availability of alternative medicine and treatment to the people. In 2017, the Indian government began providing grant-in-aid for setting up of AYUSH educational institutions in states and Union Territories.
As trends move from conventional Allopathic treatment to AYUSH therapies, there will be a high demand for medical professionals and support staff trained in these treatments and patient care. Worldwide, the trend is shifting from conventional treatment to proven alternative therapies, which augurs well for those looking at making a career in healthcare.
Reason-6: Foreign Direct Investment
India’s healthcare sector, especially hospitals and diagnostic centers attracted Foreign Direct Investment worth US$ 4.83 billion by end of September 2017. The reason India’s healthcare sector is attracting such high volumes of FDI is simple: Foreign investors see a huge potential in this country’s healthcare sector, especially diagnostics, which are fairly expensive abroad.
Consequently, anyone aspiring for a career in the healthcare sector can immensely benefit by doing a course in advanced diagnostics, required to support the burgeoning number of urban, semi-urban and rural healthcare providers such as health centers and hospitals.
Reason-7: Currency Exchange Rates
Currently, the exchange rate of the Indian Rupee vis-à-vis major global currencies including the US Dollar, Euro, UK Pound Sterling, Japanese Yen and others is fairly attractive. This means, foreign citizens can avail specialized medical treatment in India at fraction of costs they would spend in their native countries.
Already, Indian hospitals are gearing to cater to an expected rush of foreigners seeking medical treatment in India in specialized fields including Oncology, Cardiology, Orthopedics and Hematology, among others. India’s large pharmaceutical industry makes world-class medicines that are useful in treatment for almost every medical disorder and are available at inexpensive prices compared over similar foreign products. This will result in hospitals and other healthcare service providers expanding operations to cater to foreign patients leading to demand for more qualified personnel.
Reason-8: Opportunities to Migrate
India already accounts for a large number of nurses and caregivers employed in European countries and the US as well as high migration countries including Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Getting a migrant visa to these countries is far too easier for qualified and experienced Indians in the healthcare sector as compared to other professionals such as engineers and IT experts.
Anyone planning to migrate to a foreign country either for any reason can actively view a career in healthcare as stepping stone towards achieving this dream of living and working abroad. Though Indian healthcare provides pay very lucrative salaries nowadays, exchange rates of major foreign currencies makes it attractive for medical professionals to seek jobs abroad, albeit for a limited duration or for migration.
Financial analysts and industry experts say, this country holds great promise for players in the medical devices industry. The ‘Make in India’ and ‘Skills India’ initiatives launched by the Indian government are laying extra emphasis on this sector: India is a large consumer of indigenous medical devices and has vast potential for exporting to foreign countries. Given this and other scenarios, now is the right time to make a career in the country’s healthcare sector.