Is Foundation of Primary care weakening?, Health News, ET HealthWorld

By Mevish P. Vaishnav & Himadri Bisht

Pharmacists and nurses are the foundation of primary care and the first responders for healthcare for an LMIC -India. Despite having a large workforce of nurses and pharmacists, both professions are facing an existential crisis. The first study conducted by Health Parliament for nursing made us to conclude that nursing was an endangered profession in India (https://bit.ly/3ly4Dm7), and the recently released study on pharmacist paint an equal gloomy picture of the pharmacist if not worse! Pharmacistis the third largest healthcare profession globallyand is the first port of callin case of a health crisis. Pharmacists are crucial in providing primary care to patients, but their role is limited to dispensing medicines in India. The pharmacy profession is facing a twin challenge. We have a shortage of pharmacists (considering the population size), and the potential of the current pharmacists is not being utilized completely. Even the vast network of pharmacies across rural and urban areas are underutilized, which could have been leveraged to provide primary care in the underserved areas.

In India, though, the number of pharmacists in the country recorded healthy gains, rising from 5,78,179 in 2006 to 9,08,523 in 2017. However, the density

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