Too much is written about the cities of India but not enough focus on the villages that dot the country housing at least 70% of Indiaâ€™s population. Providing comprehensive Health care over such vast areas poses serious problems and till very recently providing basic health care was even out of the question. The reasons for this are many ranging from the vast distances of the country, non-willingness of Doctors and general apathy of the governments. But things are now changing, slowly the country and its leaders are realizing that effective mechanism are required to take care of the health of the people.
This realization is born out the fact that they are the human capital, the stronger and healthier they are the more they will study and work. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind. With this in mind India has undertaken multiple schemes to ensure that better health care services are provided at the last mile.
India Declared Polio Free…
One of the major outcomes of this focus on the countryâ€™s health has led India to be declared polio free, no thanks to the thousands of people employed to administer the vaccine at every high risk area apart normal monitoring. The government has slowly realized that if the doctors are unwilling then the masses are, and to this end the government has undertaken steps to train local people of villages and other rural areas.
They are provided support, a salary and incentives dependent on the well-being of the individuals. One of the major success stories apart from the polio eradication drive is the use of Accredited Social Health Activists or ASHA. These activists are usually local women trained to provide support and help in times of emergencies also they are responsible for acting as health educators and promoters in their community. The benefits of this scheme is many fold, it empowers women in the village as ASHA is a position of respect and authority so becoming a role model for young girls throughout the country, Villagers are more willing to listen to one of their own regarding topics such as family planning, safe sex, and childbirth rather than from an outsider, it Promotes financial independence for the woman and last but not least there is a presence of a person with basic knowledge in medicine to help calm any emergency situation down till other arrangements can be made in essence providing support and help. Due to this one scheme there has been a marked difference in the health parameters in states where ASHA is being followed strongly, with reductions in infant mortality, better information prevalence about family planning and less underweight children.
Schemes such as these are very important also in reduction of poverty as mostly it has been Medical emergencies or causes that have caused families to go over the edge from above to below poverty line. To this end the government of India should do more to ensure that people are well taken care of, providing support and help building their mental and physical base at the same time.
Impact of Technology?
Application of technologies can play a big role in the future as wider penetration of the internet, mobiles and electricity bring technological aids to hands of the cowman villager empowering him. The internet can be used to get online consultations overcoming the non-willingness of doctors to work in the countryside and provide information of afflictions and diseases to enable better understanding. It also will provide a way for governments to send out medical advice through mobiles through which it can update them of a variety of schemes and advisories. With better electric connectivity and girds the prevalence on the ground technologies comes into play.
Regular test and scans can easily be done at the village negating the need for a long journey to a major hospital. The regular tests can be done easily through the use of a wide variety of devices such as Diabetes monitor and blood pressure monitor. These monitors have come a long way from before and have adapted and changed with time becoming smaller, lighter and more durable. As costs of these machines come down there will be a higher penetration of such devices helping to automate and reduce the cost of providing essential health care at the village level.
The plans by the Government up until till now have been lackluster and have not had the driving force required making a meaningful change in the circumstances, but now there is a definite change in perception and focus ensuring that these schemes work. The increase of the use of technology in our everyday life will only help to accelerate this process and enable us to provide quality health care at affordable costs to the vast majority of people present in India and final providing for a more equitable society.
Jatin Gulani is the contributing writer and director of healthlinemart.com, who specializes in the topics of concerning respiratory health, nutrition and healthcare products.