Hard facts first.
– In India, more than 6 million people die annually from treatable diseases in India.
– There are only 10 physicians per 100,000 people in rural areas.
– While 50% of the upper-class has health insurance, only 10% of the overall population is covered.
Rural India has been a talk of innovation (by their urban counterparts) but nothing substantial has happened in the last few years. The thing is that healthcare delivery is a huge challenge in India and most players trivialize it to an extent that the final offering becomes unhelpful to the masses.
Mobilizing Health, a not-for-profit organization has developed a SMS based system that connects Villages to licensed practitioners using an SMS platform. The service enables villagers to send SMS to a doctor who in turn replies back with medication advice.
How Mobilizing Health Works
- In rural areas, we train literate community members how to send an SMS text message such that a doctor can appropriately respond. They are Village Health Directors (VHDs)
- On behalf of patients in their village they send an SMS to MH Messaging Number which gets logged in system in the cloud
- MH system then finds an available doctor within the network of doctors trained.
- The doctor accepts the message and replies with short codes
- The system then converts these codes into full form and sends it back to VHD [more]
The system is currently undergoing pilot in Udaipur (Rajasthan) and the team has already served 300 patients (they have two paid staff and are hiring technical director to scale the technology part).
The cost per villager is quite high ($2.18) right now, but owing to their usage of SMS platform, the team expects to bring it down to 40 cents/villager.
Real Time Data?
Fast forward a few years and assuming that the team expands to other villages, they will have a real time data of diseases occurring locally and that will give them an understanding of the trend and even forecast epidemic.
Overall, an interesting concept. And focused on treatable diseases makes it more viable (and useful) play than (hot air) talks of treating cancer via telemedicine.
What’s your take?
Interesting Rural Projects
- QuestionBox – Bringing Search Engine to Rural India
- Agrocom – QnA Service meets Rural India
- Gaon ki Awaz, Millee
- Rural India – Few Consumption Data to Blow your Mind
- Rural India –Key Statistics to Know [More Mobile than Radio]