To meet the growing demand for healthcare workers in the wake of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Union ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship will start a special training programme to create a workforce of about 100,000 professionals, a ministry official aware of the matter said. The ministry has identified 300 skill centres across 194 districts in 28 states with infrastructure in healthcare sector to facilitate the training. The ministry will also work on upskilling already experienced healthcare workers. The workforce will be trained ahead of the anticipated third wave of the pandemic, said the official. The ministry has identified six sectors in which a short-term course with a three-month on-the-job training will be offered–emergency care support, basic care support, sample collection, home care support, advance care support and medical equipment support. Given the complaints from several states that medical equipment, such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators, have been lying unused in several hospitals due to the lack of trained professionals, the course will also offer training in handling medical equipment. They will also be taught how to maintain the medical records of patients. As many as 20,000 ITI graduates have been identified to work at oxygen plants in over 500 districts. “They will be trained to install, operate, maintain, and calibrate work 24×7 at oxygen plants, mini oxygen concentrators and ventilators,” the official said. So far, the ministry has already trained 175,000 workers under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna (PMKVY) in the healthcare sector who can be employed as frontline workers and their details have already been shared with the Union ministry of health and family welfare. Another 150,000 were trained similarly under PMKVY 2.0 (a continuation of PMKVY in its second version). These candidates will be trained to handle medical emergencies in hospitals, in makeshift healthcare centres and even in home care. They will be offered training on the job in government hospitals, and will also be provided boarding and lodging provisions and accident insurance of ₹2 lakh. As per the official quoted above, frontline workers who will be trained in basic care support will be taught to handle basic equipment such as oxygen concentrators, nebulisers, ECG and pulse oximeter. They will also be trained to carry out last rites as per Covid-19 protocols. In the category of home care support, the training will include emergency response, assessment of casualty at the site and conduct triage, making ambulances ready with equipment and consumables.