Krishna Kumar, RS, laboratory officer, VSP, Vizag, India
ADVANCE: What kind of work do you do in the laboratory?
Kumar: I have been in this profession for the last 30 years. Most of my work has related to clinical pathology, haemotology and blood bank-related jobs.
ADVANCE: What kind of education did you complete in laboratory science
Kumar: I am a graduate with a bachelor of science degree, and I completed my DMLT (diploma) in 1981. I did my diploma course at the Defense Institute, which is recognized by the government of India.
ADVANCE: What are laboratorians called in your country?
Kumar: In my country laboratory personnel are initially called laboratory technicians. Then as they progress through their career they can be promoted to higher ranks such as senior laboratory technician, laboratory supervisors, laboratory officers, laboratory managers, etc.
ADVANCE: Who pays for laboratory tests in your country (e.g., patients, government, insurance)?
Kumar: In my country we have our laboratory functioning in three set-ups: private, government
and corporate/PSUs. In our government and corporate/PSUs, set-up tests are done free of cost; private set-up charges are paid by the patients or by the insurer if they are having insurance tie-ups.
ADVANCE: What are the benefits of working in the laboratory industry in your country?
Kumar: In regards to benefits, there is not much to speak of in addition to salaries. But, as there are a great number of private hospitals and nursing homes, immediate jobs can be acquired. And on India, individuals can open their own labs, which is also an advantage for those who can do so.
ADVANCE: What are the challenges of working in the laboratory industry in your country
Kumar: There is big competition among the labs, which often operate without adequate management. Furthermore, doctors here expect kickbacks from the labs.
ADVANCE: How is the pay for laboratorians in your country?
Kumar: The salaries are considerably low and the kickbacks to the doctors are higher. This presents quite a big hurdle to maintaining high morale and a quality lab environment.
ADVANCE: How is the lab workforce in your country (i.e., are there shortages of employees, is it difficult to find a job)?
Kumar: There is no shortage of manpower, however the quality of kits and reagents is lacking and the quality of work being done is not up to the proper standard.
ADVANCE: What sights/events/attractions would you recommend people take in while visiting your country
Kumar: If you come to visit India , I would recommend you to visit Taj Mahal in Agra, Redfort in Delhi, Pink City in Rajasthan, Kajurah in Madya prdesh, as well as the cities of Mumbai, Bangalore, Kolkatta, Kanyakumar and Kerala. But of course it all depends on your interest and availability of time.