In an attempt to make Northeast India more inclusive in the health infrastructure map of the country, India is going to launch its first air dispensary. This move will help reach topographically difficult areas of the North-east to give them access to health care in time. According to the plan, helicopters will be based at two locations – Imphal and Shillong, which have premier postgraduate medical institutes from where doctors, along with equipment and paramedical staff, would be able to fly over eight states in the region.
The Union Ministry of Development of Northeast (DONER) has already contributed Rs.25 crores as part of the initial funding for this initiative. Union Minister Jitendra Singh said in a press meet that the Ministry had been thinking of introducing a helicopter-based dispensary/OPD service in far-flung areas, where no doctor or medical facility is available and the patient does not have access to medical care. The proposal is in the final stages of the process in the ministry of civil aviation.
The government aims to get this plan started as early as January 2018. It is a very ambitious plan, but if implemented correctly, can work wonders in compensating for below par health infrastructure in remote areas of the country. For areas that are difficult to reach, like Northern and North Eastern areas of India, this initiative is going to be of great help. There are cases every day of loss of lives, only because help could not reach in time. Another way that these choppers can be of help is that they can carry patients to the nearest cities with medical equipment required for that particular situation.
Another move to make healthcare more accessible to remote areas, which was heavily supported by the corporate sector, was mobile medical units. In villages and towns which are off the map and in dire need of medical assistance. DLF Foundation, Glocal Healthcare, Windoors International and many more corporates have taken up these projects as part of their CSR activity. There are some corporates who are supporting government initiatives for healthcare infrastructure in rural areas.
A lot of efforts have gone into making healthcare inexpensive and available but the results have not been seen on the ground. With an air dispensary, the government is taking a step forward in the health sector. The previous goals that the government set for challenges that are still very much prevalent have still not been achieved. The Rural Health Survey also pointed at the gaping holes in the government district hospitals in remote rural areas. Time will tell if this project is able to achieve what the others could not and fulfill its purpose for those living in far-flung areas.
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The CSR Journal Team