Healthcare is a foremost requirement for the citizenry of every nation, unfortunately, when it comes to medical services, particularly in rural areas, several countries including India lag considerably. Providing quality healthcare to rural populations is a vital, but highly overlooked issue in the developing world.
India, the world’s most populous democracy, has struggled with establishing Emergency Medical Service (EMS) for all sections of society. Fortunately, in recent years, the emergency medical service scenario in urban India has undergone a major transformation and there are now innumerable hospitals, responsive ambulance services, and improved medical facilities available in metropolitan India.
When it comes to healthcare in rural India however, there remain considerable challenges to setting up robust emergency medical services. With more than 70% of the country’s population living in rural areas, the lack of access to these basic facilities have proven to be disastrous. The main challenges to the rural healthcare sector are low quality of care, poor accountability, lack of awareness, limited access to facilities, limited manpower, and reluctant community
participation. Additionally, 7% of children under 5 years of age die due to multiple ailments as a result of being underweight. Sanitation is a major concern in rural India and the population needs to be educated appropriately on the need for proper waste disposal facilities and their benefits in terms of health and hygiene. India, when compared to developed countries which have proper emergency systems in place, has no single system which could play a major part in dealing with emergency medical services. While the rural areas have been developing gradually, there needs to be more movement in terms of the infrastructural facilities, increase in the number hospitals, sanitation facilities, etc.
There is a severe need to educate the rural inhabitants on the importance of medical services and their rights access them.
Limited information regarding emergency medical services leads to multiple issues, as people are unaware on what course of action to take when confronted with the inevitable. Another major problem seen in these areas is the high rate of the infant mortality. To cope up with these problems, private companies have been associating with the government to help people in rural areas access the best medical services possible. These efforts have resulted in the EMS scenario improving considerably and the infant mortality rate in India declining. There are several regions in the country where water bodies act as a barrier to the emergency services. It’s for this reason that Boat Ambulances are the need of the hour. Rural populations should be able to appropriately and confidently access services such as primary care, dental care, behavioural health, emergency care, and public health services Even when an adequate supply of healthcare services exists in the community, there are other factors to consider in terms of healthcare access. For instance, to have good healthcare access, a rural citizen must also have:
The financial means to pay for these services, such as health insurance coverage that is
accepted by the provider
A mode of transportation to avail of these services, which may be located at a distance
Paramedics who can speak the language the local language for smooth communication
The confidence in their ability to use services without compromising their privacy
The availability of quality healthcare, ensuring privacy of the patieny’s ailment
An organised EMS system is very crucial in saving lives during a medical emergency. A coordinated participation of EMS agencies, government, police and fire departments, private hospitals, and the community is essential to ensuring maximum efficiency. The healthcare situation in rural India is in a better position than it has ever been before, as addressing issues such as problems like infant mortality persist, a lot more will need to be done.