In recent years Gujarat has experienced stark shortages in supplies of doctors, especially in rural areas. This new state initiative will see medical teams being assigned to 10,000 villages to offer healthcare to those in need.
The residents of 10,000 villages across Gujarat are to receive free medical treatment across the state twice a week, the state government announced this week. The initiative, Health Setu, will see medical teams assigned to a village across the state that they will visit twice a week for two hours to offer medical support to those in need. The medical teams will consist of one doctor and two nurses.
Just last year, Gujarat was reported as having the fifth-highest shortfall of specialists, including surgeons, gynecologists, physicians and paediatricians, among 36 states and Union Territories in terms of numbers. This specialist shortfall particularly affects the health of mothers and newborns, who amongst them experience high maternal and infant mortality rates.
The initiative is a positive sign that the state is responding to its problem with recruiting medical professionals, especially to work in its rural areas.
The dedicated medical teams will be on hand to offer medical advice and basic treatment to residents of villages identified as lacking access to good healthcare facilities. Officials say that any medication needed for treatment will be provided free of service. In instances where the patient requires a more complex course of treatment, or if the assigned doctor feels that expert opinion is necessary, the patient will be immediately referred to the nearest community health centre, primary health centre or even to civil hospitals for further diagnosis and treatment.
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In addition to offering medical support to the villages, the government has requested that the medical team present them with feedback, particularly of pregnant women and newborns. They intend to use the feedback as a mean of tackling the state’s high maternal and infant mortality rates.