There are always challenges in making high-quality healthcare accessible and available to the poor rural communities in low-cost. The COVID-19 outbreak, however, has been especially difficult and has demanded extraordinary measures.
The lockdown in India directly affected our operations and even after we strived to bring back normalcy in our services, we realized the underprivileged communities either lacked in the understanding of life saving preventive measures or completely ignored them. Thus, in these past months, we have been combining quality treatment with COVID prevention awareness. We have incorporated several preventive measures within our operations. Screens have been put up to shield the patients as well as our team. Masks and gloves have been made mandatory for all staff members along with daily temperature checks. Patients, too, get their temperature checked and we have sanitizers as well as handwashing areas set up for them.
After observing an aversion to masks among our communities, for their own safety we have made proper face covering mandatory for seeking treatment. We have also distributed masks among them.
The underprivileged and rural communities are especially vulnerable during any crisis and currently we are witnessing an increase in coronavirus cases in the rural areas. The critical need for primary care, however, is still clearly evident.
Despite the restrictions in railway services in India—an important and often main method of transportation for rural residents—we have noticed a considerably high patient count. Since restarting our services post-lockdown, we have treated over 35,700 patients.
Basic primary medical care is crucial to improving and maintaining ones health so, now more than ever, we have to continue our work with even greater vigour. The outbreak has been relentless in its effect on the poor but we, too, are persistent in our efforts.