Currently showing: Funding longer lives > Health/medicine

16 Jan 14 10:41

The recently concluded Delhi state elections offered a lesson in online crowd funding. Maybe now we can consider crowd funding to improve primary health care in India. Primary health care in rural India is still not accessible to many. While policy makers and other stake holders are busy addressing tertiary care issues it may be a good idea for social enterprises to develop rural primary health delivery centres via crowd funding, and thus employment opportunity for rural health graduates - a new course approved by the central government. The market potential is huge considering the fact that OPE (Out of Pocket Expenditure) and OPE related poverty is largely due to primary care issues despite lack of access......

Category: Funding longer lives: Health/medicine, Other

Location: India


Gavin Montgomery - 16 Jan 2014, 12:24 p.m.

I was in India over the New Year and had the opportunity to speak to two young doctors working in primary health care in Karnataka. They were planning to move back to Australia, where they had worked previously, largely because they would see over 300 patients in an average 10-hour working day in India and had very little to offer them.

The work sounded exhausting and soul-destroying, essentially signing sick certificates and handing out aspirin. By comparison, developed economies are luring skilled medical practitioners with attractive wages and working conditions, as well as access to technologies and medicines that allow them to do the jobs and develop their skills.

In my native South Africa, a huge number of young doctors immigrate each year and few are willing to work in rural areas because the conditions are so poor and it is potentially very dangerous. In SA, we have just 0.57 doctors for every 1,000 people and while 43% of South Africans live in rural areas, only 12% of doctors do. It is worth bearing in mind that both SA and India are expected to see rapid urbanization in-line with other developing economies - that undercuts the case for long-term investment in healthcare infrastructure to serve what is likely to be a dwindling population and it could be argued that medical professionals are simply at the forefront of the urbanization curve, that the distribution reflects a shift in social preferences led by the most educated and socially mobile members of society.

It is going to take more than money, then, to fix the problems in health care in rural communities around the world. We need to create special incentives for medical workers and somehow manage the diminishing returns on future investments in some of these areas. There are other barriers as well. In India it took more than 12 hours to travel 180 km by road, for example, which means that the catchment area for hospitals and clinics is significantly impaired.

Ashok Kumar - 16 Jan 2014, 2:05 p.m.

Agree! But one has to get going.... I think the first step would be to find better / alternate financing in which shareholders interest take a step back, and the primary health care is delivered by community health care graduates ( not medical doctors) who will be posted at sub-centres.No doubt an integrated approach is required as this is a multifacted problem - one prescription may just not be enough.

Paritosh - 20 Jan 2014, 5:25 a.m.

Fewer graduate colleges and expensive education and a testing internship period.... An even more fewer seats and expensive higher education like MD or DM. Why would these people work 10 hour a day at mere salaries, facing a security risk in rural areas?

Primary care suffers due to these amongst others reasons in India. Besides, there is no denying that the over reliance on one form of medicine has contributed to the problem. Perhaps government could do its bit by promoting alternative forms of medicine like Ayurvedic, Unani, Homeopathy e.t.c. more aggressively (they are already doing

Post graduate courses in community medicine should be introduced for the Medical as well as Paramedical and Pharmacy students in India. This could bring in more benefits to the rural patients.

So, the hope is alive and push by push... we will surely be there :o)

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