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Govt ropes in top US school for rural healthcare model

Karnataka has partnered with US-based Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health for a two-year project in which the Maryland-headquartered premier institute will look to build a “sustainable” healthcare model in rural areas for the government.

The Rural Development and Panchayat Raj department is overseeing the project, which will be implemented by the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust.

The project will be piloted at health and wellness centres – two each in Kollegal of Chamarajanagar district and Devadurga of Raichur district. The health and wellness centres, earlier known as sub-centres, are below primary health centres.

Additional Chief Secretary (Panchayat Raj) Uma Mahadevan told DH that the project would start “very soon”. “For many years, India has been searching for a community model on primary healthcare,” she said. “What we’re trying to do is sustain learnings from Covid-19 and keep the community involved beyond the pandemic for convergent action on health issues such as non-communicable diseases and tuberculosis (TB),” Uma added.

The project will involve Gram Panchayat Task Forces (GPTF) that were created to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in rural areas. The task forces had elected representatives, officials and frontline workers. They will now be trained under the new project, she said.

“If you need to screen people for hypertension, you also have the problem that there are so many rural poor who can’t even come. So, you have to take the devices to them. This is the Arogya Amruta scheme that is active in 2,816 gram panchayats. This year, it is being extended to the remaining 3,146 gram panchayats for decentralised screening for the hypertension, anemia and other vulnerabilities,” Uma said.

Under the Arogya Amruta scheme, every gram panchayat was given health kits comprising pulse oximeters, infrared thermometers, glucometers, haemoglobinometers, mid-upper arm circumference tapes, stadiometers and so on.

“This year, we felt that the need to understand, in a much more detailed way, how health and wellness centres can reach the community. How do we engage the community? How do we test a prototype of a model involving people, the panchayat and healthcare providers? This is the intention of the study,” Uma said.

“If you need to screen people for hypertension, you also have the problem that there are so many rural poor who can’t even come. So, you have to take the devices to them. This is the Arogya Amruta scheme that is active in 2,816 gram panchayats. This year, it is being extended to the remaining 3,146 gram panchayats for decentralised screening for the hypertension, anemia and other vulnerabilities,” Uma said.

Under the Arogya Amruta scheme, every gram panchayat was given health kits comprising pulse oximeters, infrared thermometers, glucometers, haemoglobinometers, mid-upper arm circumference tapes, stadiometers and so on.

“This year, we felt that the need to understand, in a much more detailed way, how health and wellness centres can reach the community. How do we engage the community? How do we test a prototype of a model involving people, the panchayat and healthcare providers? This is the intention of the study,” Uma said. Deccan Herald

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