Health Care in Rural India



Access to healthcare is a right that all of us need as a fundamental right. However, despite the grand developments in our country healthcare in rural areas cuts a sorry figure all across the nation. It is appalling that rural regions as yet remain deprived of necessary medical facilities, often infrastructure and medical staff as also non-availability of medicines.  Medical support is clearly denied to nearly 60% of the rural population in India.

Nearly 700 million people in rural areas continue to live in deprivation of basic healthcare and medical relief.  The situation is more deplorable because the fact is that government extension plans, processes and service schemes are in place but actual delivery is missing. This is a major dysfunctional gap that makes the picture very grim indeed.  It’s a caring philanthropy through charities and non-governmental agencies that offers some succor to the rural residents cut away from modern medical benefits.

HERD Foundation has been organizing health camps in rural regions since the past three years. Offering practices and procedures in the isolated forest areas of Central India the Foundation has ensure healthcare delivery in deprived corners of the region. Starting with assistance by organizing mobile health camps we have successfully set up an effective outpost clinic that is affiliated to a partner hospital for referrals. A dedicated medical team serves the predominantly tribal people settled in the parts offering primary health care.

HERD Foundation is well aware that the country accounts for the largest number of maternity deaths. Medical fraternity knows for sure that in the rural areas maternal health care is very poor. Our approaches therefore include education camps where we instruct on the basics of mother and child care. Our health care modules include essential aspects in nutrition, hygiene, antenatal care and access to proper medical care.

Often due to non-availability of public health care rural residents have to scout for doctors and hospitals in urban centers. The travel and transport are an additional burden on beleaguered families. It is for this reason that HERD Foundation camps are flooded with patients since despite the token fee it is access to medications that is a big draw.   Also because running to city based doctors is expensive the presence of a near-free health camp is a huge welcome relief.

HERD Foundation also works on teaching with regard to control and spread of diseases to reduce the rates of sick people. Again lack of health facilities has us paying special attention to the needs in rural areas. Taking on key challenges that include low quality of care, poor accountability, lack of awareness, and limited access to facilities we assist by providing access to referrals to like-minded hospitals.

There are very many ways in which we hope to extend the range of our services. We hope to include simple technologies like for instance mobile connectivity to cater to the needs of the villagers.  By improving communication we may create systems that allow for additional outreach. We are hoping that mobile phones may in the near future offer extensive reach across the demography. This point was recently brought home to us and we will explore the possibilities.



HERD Foundation – Rural Healers

HERD Foundation Healthcare Delivery

Mothers and Children Teeming at HERD Foundation Local Health Camp

The forest areas of Central India continue facing shortage of medical practitioners. Unable to reach a doctor in emergency, patients often end up with deficient care or worse get treated by quacks. HERD Foundation continues to play an important role as Rural Healers. The organization is doing all it can to contribute to a healthier tribal population.

The World Health Organization informs that India has only 1 doctor for every 1,700 citizens. The mandatory ratio specified by WHO is 1:1,000. HERD Foundation attempts to bridge this gap, more so in rural parts. The organization works through a multi-faceted approach in its efforts to deploy doctors and medical staff to the last mile. We keep doctors, paramedics, and support staff in a state of perpetual motivation so as to keep working for improving rural health.

Despite the momentum in health services medical care delivery remains a challenge, at best.
Even simple preventive medical treatments that we advocate in the course of these health camps, they fail to meet their mark and we end up seeing all kinds of ailments. We therefore carry on with provision of quality health care services at their doorsteps. Our attempt is also to continue promoting healthcare awareness for behavior-change among the underprivileged.

It is in these trying circumstances that HERD Foundation braves out in all seasons with its mobile health care services delivery system. We find it to be the most practical mechanism in the given situation. However we have also set up a small Tribal Clinic that works three days a week to address problems of accessibility and availability of primary health care. Since it became operational over the past two years it is readily acknowledged as a dependable facility.

We have so far provided healthcare services to countless poor people living in the jungles and interior villages. Health for underprivileged is an earmarked area of intervention for HERD Foundation. This has resulted in attending to the health needs of poor women, malnourished children and general disabilities of the aged and infirm.

HERD Foundation works to increase access to quality and affordable healthcare. Offering an integrated healthcare model we have been able to provide continuum of care to some of the most vulnerable sections of our society. Numerous health camps provide specialized care for TB, mother and child health as well as diseases like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac ailments, bone and joint disorders, ophthalmic conditions and so on. We address referral requirements through consultations for further treatment with affiliated hospitals.

Addressing Dearth of Medical Aid in Rural Areas

The Rural Sick

Reaching Out To The Rural Patients At Their Doorstep

HERD Foundation is well aware of the urgent need for healthcare in rural districts outlying Nagpur, where the organization is based. Having conducted 30 odd medical aid camps all through summer and monsoons, we observed firsthand the huge challenges facing healthcare delivery in rural parts. The vastly spread population living in rural areas is in desperate need of facilities, especially taking into count the low level of health units in existence.

Healthcare we believe is the basic right of individuals that the system should provide to people. However with the existing quality of infrastructure along with lack of qualified medical staff, the rural poor continue to be deprived of availability of most rudimentary modern medical facilities. Majority of villagers in our country carry on with services of quacks or kitchen remedies. When diseases get out of hand they arrive to the closest city to get examined, but by then it may have been often too late.

This is the grim picture of the status of rural health all over the country largely. We feel the need for immediate vital steps to ensure quality healthcare outreach for Indian villages. Despite the slew of policies and programs by successive governments, little has changed the implementation modalities of rural health services. We still continue with age-old patterns of Primary health care centers (PHCs) that we all know have limited outreach and are quite ineffectual.

If statistics on maternity deaths and mother and child health alone are taken into count, we know full-well where we stand.  Nowhere else is the plight of rural healthcare scenario more palpable than when it comes to maternal health care, that is pathetically poor. Also the scourge of diseases like TB along with other vector and water borne diseases are very severe. And in the case of non-accessibility to public health care, the rural public turns to local private health sector as their remaining choice of care.

Statistics tell us that in our rural health landscape 92% of health care visits are to private providers of which 70 percent are based in urban settings. Thus we see that Nagpur is the medical destination of rural populations arriving from MP, Chhattisgarh and rural Maharashtra. But private health care is expensive that takes the rural poor back to square one when it comes to the poverty syndrome. HERD Foundation is therefore keen to control this dismal scene by providing adequate health facilities and focalized attention to health care in rural areas. We want to pitch in to improve health care through appropriate means, by playing a critical role in the vicinity itself.

HERD Foundation is open to the idea of working alongside like-minded organizations to alleviate the bleak condition of villagers. We are keen to leverage the healthcare industry by being part of quality care delivery and to bridge gaps in healthcare services. We hope to set up an outpost, if you may, to cater to the needs of patients and hopefully this could in time become an important hub, impacting lives of the rural sick. Our initiative can deliver solutions to cater to rural patients and act as a platform to be directly connected to them. Setting up a functional clinical intervention will also make it possible to educate communities in healthcare and sanitation needs.

Concern for Sick Tribals

Dr Suchika and  Dr Amol Deshmukh at Wadamba Medical Camp