Pharmacists are not eligible for Community Health Officer: NHM
Under Ayushman Bharat, Government has done addition to the primary health team at the Sub Health Centres and Health & Wellness Centres (HWC), would be the Mid-level Health Provider (MLHP) who would be a Community Health Officer. And National Health Mission (NHM) confirmed that Pharmacists are not eligible for same.
MLHPs are eligibile to provide Provide clinical care as specified in the care pathways and standard treatment guidelines for the range of services expected of the HWC. MLHPs can also provide clinical care provision would include coordinating for care/ case management for chronic illnesses based on the diagnosis and treatment plan made by the Medical Officer/specialists who will initiate treatment for chronic diseases, dispense drugs as per standing orders by the medical officer. Such coordination could be facilitated through processes such as telehealth. However, MLHPs can also provide medicines as per the provisions of Schedule K, Item 23. And there are many other rights are given to these MLHPs.
As per, Sub-Section 4.1 of the Section 4 of Ayushman Bharat: Comprehensive Primary Health Care through Health and Wellness Centres Operational Guideline, a Community Health Officer (CHO) would be a BSc in Community Health or a Nurse (GNM or B.SC) or an Ayurveda practitioner, trained and certified through IGNOU/other State Public Hcalth/Mcdical Universities for a set or competencies in delivering public health and primary health care services.
Pharmacists raised question on eligibility of CHO and suggested that their curriculum should also be eligible for training program that will grant MLHPs to practice as Community Health Officer.
Upon which, N Yuvaraj, Director of NHM clarified that General Medicine, General Surgery Obstetrics/Gynaecology, Paediatrics, Mental Health, Preventive and Social medicine, Community health are not covered in the course design of B.Pharm and D.Pharm. These clinical skills are critical to master the competencies of Certificate Programme in Community Health. And, Hence Pharmacists are not eligible for certificate program of community health.