Treating India’s Ailing Rural Healthcare

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Treating diarrhea and pneumonia among children often requires a fairly simple intervention, such as administering life-saving oral rehydration salts. But instead, Indian doctors are often prescribing unnecessary antibiotics or other drugs that may actually worsen illness – according to a recent study coming out of Duke University in the United States.

According to the World Health Organization, each year more than 1.3 million children die in India before the age of 5. Of these, 748,000 die within the first month of their life, while more than 2,000 newborns die each day.

Many states especially in northern India have been trying to contain and minimize the risk of illnesses that are causing these deaths, including through several missions to reduce child and maternal mortality.

But the rural Indian healthcare system continues to struggle, and appears to be one of biggest challenges the government faces. So, what do doctors and healthcare specialists in India think needs to be done?

The Duke University study found that 80 per cent of “doctors” they interviewed didn’t have a formal medical degree.

Overprescription of antibiotics compounds the problem of multidrug-resistant strains of bacteria, making it difficult to fight tuberculosis like that shown above

There is clearly a lack of qualified medical providers in rural hinterlands – for example, the government continues to bank on auxiliary nurse midwives at primary health centers.

Source: DW (link opens in a new window)

Health Care