What is the status of Rural Health in India?

Miles to go before we sleep

We have reached a point in time when surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly) health care has become the most important sector that exists today. History will remember this period as a time when everything stopped for almost 2 years! This time that we have experienced has also taught us some very crucial lessons that are valuable for individuals, communities and the whole world as well.

The COVID-19 pandemic required the healthcare industry to provide consistent support to every citizen of the country. However, one part that has struggled due to a lack of healthcare systems reaching the areas on time to fulfil its role is rural India. Rural India covers 70% of the country’s population and it definitely needs a lot more attention than what it’s presently receiving.  The World Health Organization has stated that every individual or community is liable to receive all the healthcare facilities needed without undergoing any financial restrictions. However, rural communities several times see a lack in quality medical services due to the reduced financial capabilities to offer healthcare advisors. Yet, it cannot be denied that post-pandemic, there has been a boost in rural healthcare in India.

A Peek into the Progress in the Rural Healthcare Sector

There are quite a few ways in which the healthcare sector is developing in rural India. Some of it of course includes government-led support to medical care and there is also the support provided by various healthcare start-ups that are coming up today. Corporates and NGOs have also stepped forward and taken notice of rural parts of India. Healthcare experts have even stated that if services are offered at the right price and ensuring high quality, then rural citizens are very open to receiving the same.

Government’s Role in Healthcare 

India’s growing and aging population pre pandemic was unable to find the right medical services at the right time. Even though India boasts of an enormous number of healthcare experts and the sector also receives high revenue, the country was unable to control the communicable and non-communicable diseases, which further led to the increase in death rate in comparison to the previous years. Besides, India’s private sector is dominating the healthcare sector; while a majority of the population requiring healthcare services are falling under the category of below poverty line. There is a huge gap.

India’s healthcare sector had to focus on several challenges to ensure that the rural sector meets all its medical requirements. Hence, as rural requirements increased, the Indian government shifted its focus on developing mobile technology in rural areas along with affordable medical services and medication. The increase in quick and easy access and availability of healthcare products is enhancing the methods by which rural areas will soon meet their healthcare requirements. 

Corporates and NGOs

Before the pandemic, businesses were beginning to understand the importance of CRM practices. Several corporates had lined up for green field projects to ensure that the healthcare sector becomes capable of providing essential facilities to all. Additionally, medical tourism in India has pushed the corporates to support the development of efficient medical equipment in the country.

Currently, with the healthcare sector shaping into a more organized system, the difference between the quality and efficacy of the services is also evident in the market. Several NGOs have also taken initiatives to provide consistent healthcare support to rural areas. They have identified the root cause of the healthcare sector and are working to meet the existing rural challenges. The schemes which enable the NGOs to take part in fulfilling medical demands include Doctors for You (DFY), Rural Health Care Foundation (RHCF), Swasth Foundation, Swasth Swaraj, and several others.

To Conclude!

The Indian healthcare scenario is constantly evolving to stay up-to-date in the changing world that we are a part of, especially in the last two years. Though the Indian government is focused on ensuring that there are enough primary healthcare centres in rural areas, the basic healthcare facilities – the WHO recommendation is a doctor-to-patient ratio of 1 doctor for every 1000 patients – is still farfetched. In the public healthcare system, we are nowhere near that ideal level.

Maybe the cutting-edge health technology companies that are seizing the chance by developing workable, affordable, scalable solutions, and providing healthcare to the rural population will prove to be a ray of hope. However, there is so much that needs to be done and in today’s times, it is essential to monitor the needs of rural health care facilities and health care workers daily.

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that India can live up to the demands of a health crisis, we have also seen that as a nation we have a glaring rural-urban divide when it comes to healthcare. The gap exists even though there has been a lot of investment in health infrastructure during the last few years. In order to make healthcare more accessible and affordable for people living in rural areas, we definitely need to bridge this gap and there is a lot that needs to be done.

With this, Project Bharat is a one of its kind initiative aimed at offering most robust on ground rural information enriched with data points and complemented with visual which can help bridge the gap between the initiatives undertaken for rural health welfare and rural(Our data sets include high-quality village images, GPS coordinates, video clips, and many other resources)