Improving maternal and child health and their survival is central to achieving not only Millennium Development Goals (MDG) 4 and 5 but also national health goals under National Rural Health Mission, 2005. Since the launch of NRHM in 2005, there has been substantial improvement in healthcare infrastructure as well as the availability of resources for Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) services. However, in order to bring a greater change through the RCH program it is imperative we understand that reproductive, maternal, or child health are closely linked to the health status of the population at different stages of life and one issue cannot be addressed in isolation. It is important to note that the health of an adolescent girl impacts pregnancy which subsequently impacts the health of new-born and thereby under 5 children. While India is ‘off course’ to meet many of its nutritional and health goals, the numbers take a new form when seen in the urban-rural light. A huge disparity exists between urban and rural areas in terms of health infrastructure. In India, 75% of the healthcare infrastructure is concentrated in urban areas where only 27% of the total Indian population is living. The remaining 73% of the country’s population is lacking proper primary healthcare facilities.
In such cases, Information and communication technologies have great potential to address some of these challenges faces especially in rural set-up to provide cost-effective, high-quality health care services. Hence, Telemedicine can be leveraged to improve healthcare access by connecting patients in far-flung regions to doctors in urban centers and simultaneously reducing costs incurred by patients in transportation and travel. Telemedicine uses ICTs to overcome geographical barriers and increase access to healthcare services.
The team at MIHM has undertaken an impact evaluation study of such telemedicine innovation i.e. Karma Healthcare. Karma Healthcare is an impact-driven start-up, working towards its mission to provide equitable access to quality primary healthcare in state of Rajasthan and Haryana. It primarily focuses on Under 5 children, Adolescent and Maternal health.