Getting to a doctor in a city in India can be fairly simple, however in rural parts of the country, medical care can be complicated. Not only are healthcare facilities sometimes difficult to reach, doctors in these facilities might come once or twice a week, and a lot of times they do not show up at all. A Karnataka-based organization, the Indo-Dutch Project Management Society (IDPMS) explains this phenomenon by the fact that doctors get paid whether they show up to work or not. They found that doctors working at public healthcare centers, which provide relatively cheaper healthcare to rural populations sometimes only work 4 hours per day and remain entirely unavailable for 100 days in a year. These doctors are meant to be at work for five and a half days each week and be on call full time. This results in economically disadvantaged individuals needing to access private and more expensive healthcare facilities. The video embedded below explains the problem in more detail.
The IDPMS has devised a system to track text messages that local patients send them regarding doctor absenteeism and generates maps with the regions and facilities in which absenteeism takes place. According to Mashable, the IDPMS plans on aggregating this data to present to the government and policy makers, so they administer stricter controls on doctor truancy. The idea is to create a feedback loop from the ground itself, so politicians and the government can be held accountable. Oscar Abello, Senior Program Associate at the Results for Development Institute, which worked with IDPMS says, “We want local organizations to be the ones creating these accountability programs, because they’re the only ones capable of creating sustainable change and they have the capability of applying those skills to other prominent issue.”
Do you think this system will make politicians accountable for public healthcare? Can other states in the country benefit from such a system? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.