Policy Roundtable on Allied Health Professionals
Allied health professionals are recognized as vital, indispensable and distinct members of the health team globally. In Punjab, there are two independent tiers of professionals who support the core medical staff in their healthcare services, namely paramedics and allied health professionals.
Allied Health Professionals, currently registered with Higher Education Commission (HEC), undergo a bachelors’ honours program of 4 years after their F.Sc. Their entry into the allied health schools is also via the same medical college admission tests MCATs that students undertake for admission in medical and dental colleges. There are currently 8 institutes of Allied Health Sciences in Punjab, with 6 added in last two years. These 8 institutions produce 1000 allied health professionals each year in 20+ disciplines. Punjab has 8000 registered allied health professionals and 6192 seats in public sector health facilities.
Paramedics, registered with Punjab Medical Faculty (PMF), undergo a diploma training varying from 4 to 24 months after their matriculation. There are 10,045 paramedic diploma seats in the 70 public and 82 private institutions affiliated with PMF for paramedics’ trainings, offering 10 diploma programs. The province has 78,686 registered paramedics and 14,120 sanctioned seats in public sector health facilities. Allied health professionals are recognized as vital, indispensable and distinct members of the health team globally.
According to the international benchmark of 2.7 per 1000 population, Punjab requires at least 289,000 allied health professionals to cater to the needs of its population.
Objectives of the Dialogue
- 1. Highlighting the importance of the allied health professionals in achieving universal health coverage
- 2. Addressing current challenges at entry, workforce and output level
- 3. Finalizing recommendations for policy directions
The policy roundtable yielded very concrete discussion around different HRH blocks. The participants strongly recommended that population-based yardsticks for allied health professionals and paramedics need to be defined in the local context, to streamline the workforce planning. Gaps in current training institutions and regimens were highlighted. Misnomers in existing cadre nomenclature was emphasized as a source of confusion and ill-planning. The matter of equivalence for 2- year diploma programs under PMF were marked as high priority tasks.
The roundtable was attended by Registrar PMF, Director Post-Graduate Institute of Allied Health Sciences Faisalabad, senior public health faculty from Allied Health Sciences, Services Hospital, Kinnaird College for Women University, Rashid Latif Medical College, University of Animal and Veterinary Sciences, Nur International University, representatives from Primary & Secondary Healthcare Department, Specialized Healthcare & Medical Education Department, donors, development partners and subject matter experts