Why Is Rural India Lagging In Healthcare?
Home to more than 64% of the country’s 1.3 billion population, rural India doesn’t even have 30% of the nation's health infrastructure at its disposal.
Health care is the right of every individual, but the lack of quality infrastructure including medical facilities, medical functionaries, and inaccessibility to essential medicines affects rural healthcare in India.
What are the barriers?
Shortfall of Rural Health Centres
The standard government guidelines prescribe one sub-center (SC) for every 5,000 individuals, one primary health center (PHC) for every 30,000 individuals, and one community health center (CHC) for every 1.2 lakh people. These centers act as a lifeline to the rural sector as the majority of the population opts for government medical services
However, there is a shortage of SCs by 23%, PHCs by 12%, CHCs by 37% in remote areas, as mentioned by Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare at Lok Sabha, on 12 March 2021.
Distance and Transportation Barrier
Distance is a barrier for people living in rural parts of India. Average trips for medical or dental services are about 9 miles in rural regions. Transportation barriers lead to rescheduled or missed appointments, delayed care, missed or postponed medical drug use. These consequences typically lead to poorer management of chronic illness and thus poorer health outcomes.
Poor Health Literacy
People who live in rural areas have lower health literacy and also have limited access to health information due to a lack of education facilities. Unfortunately, this results in poor decision making as these patients don’t have the right tools at their disposal. Ultimately, this again results in poorer health outcomes.
Educational level, religion, age, and gender are significantly associated with attitudes towards healthcare. The obstructions in healthcare come when patients refuse to seek treatment for infectious diseases due to fear of societal stigma, faith in religious healers, cost and lack of understanding proper treatments
There is an immediate need for new practices and procedures to ensure that quality and timely healthcare reaches the deprived corners of Indian villages, considering the current unfortunate reality. Even though several policies and programs are being run by the Government, the success and effectiveness of these programs still remain to be seen especially due to challenges in execution.
Strategies to make it accessible:
● Affordable healthcare A significant portion of medical care costs in Rural India is non-hospitalized therapy or out patient department (OPD) checkups. Though there is no direct strategy to reduce hospitalization costs, public authorities can make the cost of treatment outside of hospitalization less expensive, especially as this type of treatment is often more preventative in nature, saving hospitalization costs later.
● Free medical camps These medical camps will provide free medical advice and medicine to the underprivileged section and guide them towards specialized treatment whenever it is required.
● Introduction to student-run clinics sometimes called "neighborhood health projects''. These are medical-student run programs in which students manage a patient care clinic. These clinics tend to serve under and uninsured patients and offer thousands of people what is often their only access to health care.
● Raising awareness about public health issues Knowledge of diseases and symptoms is essential for screening and early detection. If people are aware of the diseases and their symptoms, they are more likely to prevent them and go to healthcare providers for appropriate check-ups and medication.
Our aim at Sanrai is to transform the healthcare sector by making innovative medical technology accessible to all, no matter where you are. We are focused on improving healthcare for all irrespective of their socio-economic status. With more equitable access to high quality healthcare, society as a whole will benefit.