Health is a fundamental human right and a global social goal for living a better quality of life. Administering affordable services to the people is the ‘Need of the Hour’.
About 72% of the world’s population, who are extremely poor, live in rural areas. More so, 84% of all the medical visits in India, are made by rural occupants with a majority still travelling long distances to reach a healthcare facility. Patients in rural areas face several hurdles in healthcare that limit their ability to avail the care they need.
So, what’s the solution—
“Ayushman Bharat Programme” or Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana”-a promise to benefit 10.8 crore poor and deprived families, has raised a lot of hope in the underprivileged community. But well, it cannot succeed without addressing the human resource gap in rural areas.
To set-up an affordable healthcare ecosystem in the country, there is a need for a broad approach that includes producing the required human resource and raising awareness among Indians in the rural set-up.
-Poor health literacy- limits patients to understand the health information and the instructions given by healthcare providers. Most times, due to the lack of awareness, rural residents are reluctant to visit healthcare facilities, because they don’t have the confidence to communicate with professionals. At the same time, there is also less knowledge about chronic diseases and symptoms. It is, therefore, essential to have a functioning primary healthcare service closer to the doors of rural people.
-Long-distance commutation-increases costs and inconvenience, often resulting in discontinuation of treatment. There could be severe consequences on their health for people suffering from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, among others and require frequent visits to outpatient healthcare facilities.
–Shortage of doctors and allied healthcare professionals are even more glaring in rural areas where it severely limits, access to healthcare and negatively affects health outcomes. Poor Medical Infrastructure in these areas also act as an impediment in attracting qualified and trained professionals.
-A Method has to be found to generate trained human resources to provide healthcare services. Providing incentives to doctors to work in rural areas, improving working conditions for professionals and replenishing them with quality infrastructure to carry out their duties are some ways. Taking practitioners on board and equipping them with the ability to diagnose, can fill the human resource gap, temporarily.
–Doctors in rural areas should be continuously Re-skilled to adapt to the latest developments in the medical field. With a growing understanding of diseases and treatments, modern healthcare system demands constant upgrading of skills and continuous medical education. The professionals must be able to make the right diagnosis and provide quality treatment.
–There is a need for Creating Innovative and Low-Cost Solutions and technologies, that can help bring healthcare closer to the houses of the rural population. This can bypass the problems of human resource and infrastructure shortage. Ambulances, mobile health check-up vans, healthcare kiosks and use of telemedicine are ways to achieve this.
Healthcare start-ups are working on opening kiosks across various States that provide primary healthcare services to villagers every day. These kiosks have a nurse, who performs a physical examination and connects with the online doctor by live audio or video through a technology backed platform. These services are provided at subsidised rates.
Health is a causative factor that affects a country’s level of economic growth. Since development is a consequence of good health, even the poorest developing countries should make it a priority to invest in the health sector. But unfortunately, health has been poorly granted by countries with low human development.
India is one of the fastest-growing economies of the world. The essential component of primary healthcare, promotion of food supply, the right nutrition, clean water and basic sanitation and provision for quality health information concerning the current health problems – is very much ignored. Access to healthcare services, provision of essential medicines and scarcity of doctors are other hold-ups in the primary health care scenario.
Our team at EKAM can help with this issue. The Mission of EKAM is not to replace but to supplement the ‘Public Health Care System’. EKAM provides health care at primary health centres, district hospitals and other tertiary care government hospitals.
So, log on to www.ekamoneness.org to learn more about how EKAM can help build a healthy community.