Partnering with various government agencies and hospitals.
1. In the Mahbubnagar District Hospital, we already run the State’s only programme for early detection and treatment of cervical cancer (the biggest cause of death in Indian women). The District Collector and Medical and Health Officer are paying for three of our Outpatient nurses who also work as Patient Counselors. The district is one of the largest in the state (more than 4 million) and one of the three most impoverished on all measures.
2. The bus station centre was purpose-built for us and paid for by the State’s Road Transport Authority (APSRTC).
3. All the Patient Counselors are protected through a government order (GO) issued by the State’s Secretary for Health and Family Welfare.
4. The government hospitals have provided the counselors with rooms and lockers.
5. Corporate hospitals have partnered with us to offer our poor, rural patients free services.
1. By partnering with state agencies and private hospitals, the programme is more sustainable. For example, we take blood pressure measurements of the APSRTC staff and counsel them on lifestyle management. We also offer them first aid.
2. Corporate hospitals seek our cases as they provide excellent teaching material. They say they enjoy treating these rural patients as they are quite different from their normal sophisticated patients. They sometimes ask them to come as subjects for examinations which makes rural people very happy.
3. As the counselors enjoy the protection of a government order (GO) and wear a distinctive uniform, they are readily visible to the doctors and other staff who treat them more as colleagues than outsiders. This means that patient counselors are allowed to enter intensive care units to see patients and thus reduce the anxiety of rural parents or spouses who must remain outside.
What will it take for your project to be successful over the next three years? Please address each year separately, if possible.
The success of the project depends upon several components:
1. The continued support of the government agencies who have invested in the concept helping poor, rural people access health care.
2. The continued supply of rural patients who need more specialized medical care.
3. The continued failure of the Government of India to invest more in rural health care.
- Improve the knowledge of the Patient Counselors through continuing medical education and discussion of individual cases. This includes teaching sessions each week for 1-2 hours with doctors who come to the office to help in training.
- Continual interaction with government officials to reinforce the importance of their decisions to support us.
- Begin an ‘each one, teach one’ programme to encourage saqtisfied patients to return to their villages and tell others about it.
- Using the local press, increase the awareness of villagers that seeking higher level care is possible.
- Expand the programme to the second city in the state (Vizag) by using existing counselors as trainers.
- Improve the patient records kept on all patients who receive sophisticated medical treatment or surgery.
- Write a manual for others to begin the same programme in their localities.
- Present our work to NGOs working in health care in the major cities in India
What would prevent your project from being a success?
1. If the A P State Road Transport were to withdraw our lease agreement.
2. If the Government Order for our counselors were to be withdrawn.
3. If we did not get enough rural patients to make it worthwhile running the programme.