The Indian Health Service (IHS) has become a key source of health advice for many Australians.
It has provided medical advice for nearly 30 years, as well as being a centre for community outreach and development.
But while the IHS has grown in importance, there has been a marked decline in its numbers over the past decade.
The number of Indian doctors has increased, but so has the number of doctors from other countries who have joined the profession in recent years.
In 2019, the Indian Medical Council (IMC) reported that only 15 per cent of Indian physicians were currently working in Australia.
That figure was down from 35 per cent in 2015.
As a result, the number in the ICS has declined by more than a third since the mid-1990s.
“The numbers are not increasing, not because the IFS are not available, but because the Indian community is not able to access the Ihs, either through traditional channels or through tertiary institutions,” Dr Arvind Dube, the executive director of the Indian Health Research Institute (IHRI), told RTE.
Dr Dube said it was important for the Indian medical profession to continue to expand.
He said the IHPI was not able “to recruit enough new Indian doctors to support the growth of the IHRI”.
“If you have to do it on your own, you have a problem.
You can’t recruit enough doctors on your self-interest,” Dr Dube told Rte.
IHS was born in 1960 and has grown to include a total of 11,600 medical students and 20,000 practitioners.
Today, its workforce comprises 8,400 doctors, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, physiotherapists, obstetricians and gynaecologists.
According to the Indian National Board of Medical Research (INRB), there are about 15,000 IHS staff in Australia, while another 1,000 are employed in India.
Rural and remote communities have also had an impact on the IHI’s numbers.
Currently, about one in five of the Indians enrolled at IHI, which is the largest in Australia and one of the world’s largest, are enrolled in tertiary education, according to Dr Dubes.
This is a result of a number of factors including: low enrolment rates, the difficulty of obtaining primary education, and poor governance by IHIs.
And, there is no clear way to recruit Indian doctors, according Dr Dache.
Indian students, as a group, are more likely to be enrolled in universities and other tertiary schools, but this is not a long-term solution, he said.
If Indian doctors cannot find work in Australia because of lack of access to IHAs, they may end up moving to a rural community, where they may not be as likely to receive the training, Dr Due said.
“In terms of employment, we are not sure if we can recruit enough to sustain the IHC’s growing and increasing numbers.
It is a very challenging environment.”
India’s health service has been described by Dr Duse as a “model” by other health experts.
A report by the World Health Organisation found that India’s health system is “in a state of crisis”.
“There is a lack of communication between IHUs and the community about their programs, and there is a mismatch between the medical staff training available in the rural and urban settings,” Dr G.N. Singh, director of global health and social innovation at IHRI, told RtR.
India’s healthcare system is a model for other countries in that there is “no national health insurance, no national medical insurance and a national healthcare policy which is based on the idea of universality and not a national system of government,” Dr Singh told RTe.
More than 50 per cent people in India live in rural areas.
Some people living in rural and remote areas do not have access to primary education and can only access tertiary or community health care, according, the report.
While the IHTI’s population has increased by about 5 per cent annually over the last decade, Dr Singh said that its capacity has not kept up.
For the first time in its history, there are fewer IHOs operating in Australia than there were two decades ago.
By 2019, IHS had about 2,200 staff in operation.
However, Dr N. Rajagopal, the chair of the Australian College of Surgeons’ Royal College of Physicians, told the ABC that the IHEs current workforce was “too small to be able to sustain its growth”.
Dr Rajagopol said the growing number of IHs and the lack of an effective health system led to the “collapse” of the health service in India in the 1990