Here are some statistics that remind us of the challenges in the Indian healthcare domain:
- Over 30% people in rural India and 20% in urban India don’t seek treatment for lack of financial resources.
- Every year nearly 39 million people in India are pushed into poverty because of ill-health.
- The common man spends 72% of out-of-pocket expenditure on drugs.
- India’s current public spending on health at 0.94% of GDP is among the lowest in the world.
In such a scenario, the work undertaken by Karuna Trust gains significance. The Trust, through its direct intervention programs at primary healthcare level and through sustain lobbying & advocacy on health policy with state & national governments, the has been able to effect positive changes in the communities it serves.
The National Health Policy of 2000 lists PPP with NGOs as an important, viable strategy for development. NGOs are flexible in procedure and enjoy higher rapport with local communities; both essential traits that supplement and complement the government’s work.
Karuna Trust’s PPP on health with the government of Karnataka, which began with management of a PHC at Gumballi in Yelandur Taluk, has expanded to include 50 PHCs in partnership with the state governments of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya. Efforts are on to include other states as well. The project aims to empower individuals, families and communities with essential knowledge that help them lead fuller, healthier lives. The uniqueness of the project lies in its community-oriented focus that integrates preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative efforts through a democratic, cultural and participatory approach.
Strategies used to achieve this include:
- capacity building of service providers at various levels,
- strengthening information and communication technology,
- enabling availability of all essential services under a single roof, and
- ensuring optimum efficiency and functioning of all PHCs as community hubs rather than mere healthcare providers.