When Suresh Ramu set up a Covid care facility in Bengaluru during the ravages of India’s devastating second wave, his biggest hurdle was staffing. Ramu, chief executive officer (CEO) of the 150-bed Cytecare Cancer Hospital in Bengaluru, needed a total of 55 doctors and nurses to staff the 125-bed step-down hospital step-down hospital Step Down Unit Step Down Units provide an intermediate level of care between the Intensive Care Units and the general medical-surgical wards . The bigger challenge, though, was finding support staff—allied healthcare professionals (AHPs)—to perform the thankless, even invisible, tasks that keep a hospital ticking along.

All told, Ramu needed 67 AHPs across a variety of functions. These ranged from tasks as basic as housekeeping, food service, and security to coordinating day-to-day operations, handling the centre’s 24-hour helpline, and digital data entry. With the country’s healthcare workforce already stretched to its limits, finding takers for these high-risk, relatively low-reward positions was never going to be easy.

The hunt for AHPs wasn’t unique to Ramu. Across the length and breadth of the country, AHPs—including phlebotomists phlebotomists Phlebotomist Phlebotomists are trained to puncture in a vein, usually in the arm, with a cannula for the purpose of drawing blood , lab technicians, and home health aides—found themselves in high demand. In 2012, the National Skill Development Corporation estimated estimated National Skill Development Corporation Human Resource and Skill Requirement in the Healthcare Sector Read more  a market demand of 2.3 million AHPs. The current supply of AHPs is estimated estimated Indian Express Why government’s recognition of allied healthcare professionals is a paradigm shift Read more to be between 800,000-900,000, according to the health ministry.

With such scarcity, the salary for some roles doubled or tripled over April and the first two weeks of May, Srinivasa Rao told The Ken. Rao is the CEO of Apollo Medskills, a 40-centre-strong training school for AHPs. Before the pandemic, the monthly salary for the majority of AHP jobs varied from Rs 10,000-15,000 ($137-206)—the minimum wage set by the states. However, as desperate times called for desperate measures, some AHPs have earned as much as Rs 50,000 ($689) a month.

Medskills also found itself scrambling to keep pace with the unprecedented demand. Rao said the institute developed expedited courses—as short as 90 hours—to train AHPs to service the current crisis. 

AUTHOR

Ruhi Kandhari

Ruhi writes on the impact of healthcare policies, trends in the healthcare sector and developments on the implementation of Electronic Health Records in India. She has an M. Sc. in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.

View Full Profile

Subscribe to read this story

The Ken is the only business subscription you need. Questions?

 

Premium

  • 5 original and reported longform business stories every week
  • Access to ONLY India edition
  • Close to 250 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters
  • 4 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to ONLY Southeast Asia edition
  • Close to 200 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to all paywalled stories since March 2020
  • Pick up to 5 premium subscriber newsletters

Rs. 2,750 /year

$ 120 /year

India Edition
Subscribe Subscribe
Most Asked For

Borderless

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories

Rs. 4,200 /year

Subscribe
 

Echelon

  • 8 original and reported longform business stories each week
  • Access to both India and Southeast Asia editions
  • Close to 400 exclusive stories every year
  • Full access to over 5 years of paywalled stories across India and Southeast Asia
  • Unlimited access to all premium subscriber newsletters
  • Visual Stories
  • Bonus annual gift subscription
  • Priority access to all new products and features

Rs. 8,474 /year

Subscribe
Or

Questions?

What kind of subscription plans do you offer?

We have three types of subscriptions
- Premium which gives you access to either the India or the Southeast Asia edition.
- Borderless which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions
- Echelon which gives you complete access to The Ken across both editions along with a bonus gift subscription

What do I get if I subscribe?

The Premium edition gives you access to stories in that edition along with any five subscriber-only newsletters of your choice.

The Borderless and Echelon subscription gives you complete access to The Ken across editions and unlimited access to as many newsletters as you like.

What topics do you usually write about?

We publish sharp, original and reported stories on technology, business and healthcare. Our stories are forward-looking, analytical and directional — supported by data, visualisations and infographics. We use language and narrative that is accessible to even lay readers. And we optimise for quality over quantity, every single time.

Our specialised subscriber-only newsletters are written by our expert, award-winning journalists and cover a range of topics across finance, retail, clean energy, cryptocurrency, ed-tech and many more.

How many newsletters do you have?

We are constantly adding specialised subscriber-only newsletters all the time. All of these are written by our team of award-winning journalists on a specialised topic.

You can see the list of newsletters that we publish over here.

Does a Premium subscription to your Indian edition get me access to the Southeast Asia edition? Or vice-versa?

Afraid not. Each edition is separate with its own subscription plan. The India edition publishes stories focused on India. The Southeast Asia edition is focused on Southeast Asia. We may occasionally cross-publish stories from one edition to the other.

We recommend the Borderless or the Echelon Plan which will give you access to stories across both editions.

Do you have a mobile app?

Yes! We have a top-rated mobile app on both iOS and Android which allows you to read on-the-go and has some amazing features like the ability to bookmark stories, save on your device, dark mode, and much more. It’s really the best way to read The Ken.

Is there a free trial?

You can sign up for a free account to experience The Ken and understand our products better. We’ll send you some free stories and newsletters occasionally, and you can access our archive of previously published free stories. You can stay on the free account as long as you’d like.

The vast majority of our stories, articles and newsletters can be accessed only by a paid subscription.

Do you offer any discounts?

Sorry, no. Our journalism is funded completely by our subscribers. We believe that quality journalism comes at a price, and readers trust and pay us so that we can remain independent.

Do you offer refunds?

No. We allow you to sample our journalism for free before signing up, and after you do, we stand by its quality. But we do not offer refunds.

I am facing some trouble purchasing a subscription. What can I do?

Just write to us at [email protected] with details. We’ll help you out.

I have a few more questions. How can I reach out to you?

Sure. Just email us at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.