Overworked healthcare professionals. Hospitals overrun by patients. Social media flooded with cries for help. Families waiting in line even to perform the last rites for their loved ones.
These were the images that haunted the Indian community in the second quarter of 2021. They put forward various complex social issues our country faces. However, they just remain those – problems with no evident solutions.
Keeping in line with this spirit, our founder Mr Varun Shrivastava has initiated a campaign to strengthen the medical infrastructure in Indian Villages. Access to primary healthcare is the fundamental right of every individual. Starting from Mouda, a small town 40 kilometers away from Nagpur, UPAY has begun the effort to ensure that every village in our vicinity has access to this service.
Medical Camp – providing access to medical equipment and trained staff
The idea of opening health kiosks is to generate accessibility to basic medical help for the villagers. Each medical kiosk has an appointed coordinator from the village who was trained in paramedical and nursing skills. This training allowed the coordinator to conduct basic medical tests using the medical equipment funded by UPAY on site.
However, the coordinators were not qualified enough for diagnosis. Thus, we have collaborated with the team of doctors associated with the Covid Task Force. This task force has doctors who will be available 24/7. If any villager faces severe health issues – related to COVID or any other concern, the coordinator shall connect them to the doctor via phone. This telecommunication will ensure that the villagers are getting the best medical help at all times
Overcoming challenges to establish medical camps
Taking medical responsibility comes with its challenges. The first one is finding legal space to set up the kiosks. However, the team has managed to set up our first few booths quite successfully in Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
The second challenge was to find a good coordinator. The trainers are ready to train, but finding a relatively qualified person willing to work in times of pandemic was difficult. There are volunteers and interns eager to take on the role. However, the coordinator must be from the concerned village. It is crucial to building local trust in medical assistance. Moreover, it lays the foundation for a more independent medical infrastructure in the future.
The third challenge is the villagers’ hesitation to trust medical guidance over telecommunication. It is only natural for people to trust doctors when they are physically available. However, the situation of the hour did not allow for the same. Bringing about this shift in keeping an open mind for online communication was a hard task. Yet, we had faith in the acceptance of this change eventually.
UPAY’s Achievements and Future Plans:
In the last month alone, UPAY has opened five kiosks in the villages near UPAY centres. And in one year, the team has the target of establishing 100 fully functional kiosks in the villages.
The idea is first to open these booths in towns near UPAY centres and eventually open them in slum areas. The goal is to take a step towards boosting the medical infrastructure available for the underprivileged. Ultimately, these kiosks will grow independent, and communities will no longer have to fare out of their area to seek essential medical assistance.
While the second-wave crisis in India was temporary, the issues it highlighted were permanent. The lack of well-equipped healthcare, especially in the roots of our country, is a breeding ground for another such crisis to occur.
Mr Varun emphasises, “Medical infrastructure and resources aren’t going to be available or appear even after COVID. Thus it is important to have these kiosks permanently.”
The Medical Camp initiative is a challenging yet salutary step taken by the team to battle the lack of accessible quality healthcare in rural India. Our support is with all the people working on the ground for the initiative.
We hope to share stories of success with you – our readers, soon.