More than 66% of the population in India, live in rural areas. Nearly 86% of all the medical visits in India are made by ruralites with the majority still travelling more than 100 km to avail health care facility of which 70-80% is born out of pocket landing them in poverty.
Bihar and Uttar Pradesh are one of the poorest states having more than 250 million people, surviving on less than $5 a day.The targeted population is one of the most underserved segments in terms of healthcare. As an example, the maternal mortality rate in the state of Bihar is 165 per 100000 live births, which is the highest in the country with negligent focus on women care & elderly care.
In the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, the population is primarily active as daily wage earners and in agriculture work. It costs a day of wage to seek a meeting and diagnostic with a doctor, another set of 3-4 days to get the tests done and have an actual sit-down with the doctor. During this period, they not only lose their wages, but more importantly, the illness becomes severe due to delayed recognition and treatment.
In the primary research conducted by BigOHealth, we found that to get an appointment with qualified and experienced doctors, people need to travel more than 40-50 km at 3 am in the morning from remote areas to city and queue for 5-6 hours at the doctor’s clinic, only after that they could hope to get the appointment.
Furthermore, emergency health requirements usually end sorrowful, since meeting the professionally qualified doctors or simply being able to speak with one is impossible at the late hours. People in need of help in remote areas usually end up going to unqualified medical professionals, which leads to mistreatment, severe complications or in few cases death. As per recent data, Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Bihar and Jharkhand is 165 per 100000 live births and Infant mortality rate (IMR) in Bihar is 35 per 1000 live births. One of the major causes behind this is not being able to consult a qualified doctor at the time of emergency. Out of the 3 million women who get pregnant every year in Bihar, 6500 die from complications.
According to a Health Workforce analysis published in a Report of WHO (Geneva 2016) and based on decoding the census data, as many as 57.3% of doctors in rural India did not have a medical qualification and they are one of the biggest causes of health complications, and untimely death of patients. Millions of villagers depend on unqualified medical practitioners as the first line of medical treatment as there are no other solutions to consult a qualified doctor remotely. Continued dependence on unqualified practitioners is fraught with dangers of incorrect diagnosis, irrational drug uses, resulting in the spread of multidrug resistance.
We have also identified the issues of lack of timely recognition of health issues affecting the treatment and facilitating the chances of the spread of communicable diseases. People engrossed in livelihood activities that barely support their hand to mouth requirements, avoid paying attention to healthcare needs, especially for females and children.
Women and old age people facing early health problems in remote areas are ignored by family members and neighbours. As a result, they suffer from serious disease and in some cases, they lose their life.
The aforementioned issues affect lives, economic parity, loss of livelihood, and mistreatment.