People residing in rural India are struggling and prematurely dying because of various health issues such as cancer, heart disease, strokes, injuries caused unintentionally and breathing difficulties etc. This is happening because of lack of proper treatment and lack of qualified doctors in these areas. Teleconsultation in India is a precious boon that has broken difficult barriers faced by people in rural areas and helped millions of people across the globe.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth can be considered as the ultimate approach to delivering the best healthcare services to people living far away from specialists and hospitals. This is an excellent opportunity to provide high quality medical support for patients from remote areas using advanced technological gadgets such as computers or mobile phones.
People living in areas with fewer transportation facilities also benefit from Telehealth. Electronic telecommunication technology is used for collecting data and giving clinical guidance to patients. This technology is designed to assist hospitals, healthcare professionals and centers to deliver advanced medical treatment services. Teleconsultation allows patients to consult doctors online and improve the communication between the patients and the doctor for easy accessibility to healthcare services.
Challenges in rural areas and the importance of Telehealth
Telehealth is a valuable technology that is needed more in rural areas than for those living in urban cities.
1. Unhealthy habits
Most people living in rural areas are not aware of the consequences of unhealthy habits and a higher percentage are following harmful practices such as eating unhealthy foods, maintaining poor body hygiene, not washing hands and using open spaces instead of toilets etc. These harmful behaviours are affecting the growth, development and health of rural people. Telehealth helps in educating these people with valuable information about the benefits of practicing healthy habits.
2. Difficulty in Healthcare accessibility
More than 65% of the Indians live in rural areas, yet more than 75% of the doctors in India are located in urban areas. In rural India, there are fewer health care services and qualified doctors to provide the best treatment. Therefore, people living here are finding it difficult to get excellent and speedy healthcare services for treating their health issues. This might lead to more chronic illness and other complications. Telehealth can assist struggling patients with online doctor consultations to restore their health with proper guidance, consultation, medication and treatments.
3. Transportation and delayed treatment
Many rural areas in India have weak and rare transportation facilities. Since there is a lack of high quality medical support for patients with any health issues, telehealth will help in detecting the disease earliest, seek medical assistance and help in preventing the issue from turning into an emergency situation. Telehealth is a wonderfully tailored technology to provide speedy and effective medical treatments from well-qualified doctors for these underprivileged rural patients.
4. Unhealthy food habits
Poor nutrition includes eating unhealthy foods or not consuming a properly nutritious diet. People living in rural areas mostly eat unhealthy foods containing carbohydrates, salt and sugar, which are causing various health issues.
Telehealth assists patients through a second medical opinion, Teleconsultation, and educating them about the importance of eating a well balanced nutritional diet and avoiding infectious diseases. Telehealth can also guide the health care professionals in the rural villages to provide quality advice on consuming nutrition-enriched foods that will provide strength and health. They will also provide medication to treat malnutrition in children and women.
5. Poor Hygiene
Maintaining proper hygiene is essential for a community to prevent the occurrence of diseases and attain good health. Children and adults living in most of the rural villages in India do not have any knowledge regarding sanitation and hygiene, which are the chief causes of diverse chronic sicknesses. Telehealth can conduct online camps to educate people about the following issues:
- Telehealth can guide young children and people in rural areas to follow certain sanitation and hygienic practices for maintaining a healthy community.
- People shall be informed through telecommunication about washing hands with clean water and soap.
- The dishes and utensils used for cooking and eating should be cleaned and stored in clean places to avoid any health complications caused because of pollution and poor hygiene.
- Using toilets instead of open spaces helps keep the rural villages living healthier lifestyles with cleaner air to breathe and fewer infections spreading.
- People should be educated to keep the environment cleaner and healthier by sweeping the house floor and disposing of the rubbish properly.
- Livestock should be grown in stables separately from home, to avoid any diseases caused by these animals.
- Physical hygiene is another crucial factor that needs to be regularly treated by keeping the body clean and bathing every day with quality soap.
Hygiene and proper sanitation help in creating a healthier nation by preventing diseases and infections from spreading throughout the rural schools, neighborhoods, and offices.
Shortage of doctors in rural India
It is a big challenge to convince well-qualified doctors, specialists and surgeons to render their valuable healthcare services to struggling people in rural areas. More than 80% of efficient doctors are in urban cities and less than 20% of qualified doctors provide health care services. There are plenty of healthcare centers in India that are functioning without enough doctors and Telehealth could be considered the inevitable option for wellness and medical guidance for these people.
Break the barriers with Telehealth
Inadequate hospital infrastructure and health care professionals are basic factors affecting the people living in rural areas. The COVID-pandemic revealed the inadequacy of healthcare services in rural communities.
Telehealth eliminates all the barriers to living in rural communities and thus optimizes their accessibility to excellent healthcare services. Telehealth creates awareness to people in rural areas by educating them and providing speedy consultation, by highly skilled and qualified doctors from anywhere across the globe.
Vanya Health is an amazing telehealth technology, which acts as a bridge between rural patients and expert doctors to provide treatments for any type of health issue.
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