Appropriate wage structure in remote areas will boost rural healthcare

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New Delhi | Updated: January 16, 2019 7:17:12 AM

Three boat ambulances launched to serve 33 tribal villages inaccessible by road in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra lying unused for two months.

rural healthcare, healthcare industryThe state of rural healthcare delivery in the country is poor, a system blighted by lack of access to health-care facilities, chronic shortage of doctors and paramedic staff.

Three boat ambulances launched to serve 33 tribal villages inaccessible by road in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra lying unused for two months—because the doctors who were hired to man them have quit for better opportunities under the Ayushman Bharat programme—paint an accurate picture of the continued myopia over personnel and labour policy in the government sector. To serve vulnerable communities at such a remote location, the doctors were being paid, as per The Indian Express, a measly Rs 24,000. So, when the jobs at the Ayushman Bharat Health and Wellness Centre elsewhere in the same district were paying Rs 40,000 a month, the doctors hired for the boat ambulance programme had no qualms taking those up.

The state of rural healthcare delivery in the country is poor, a system blighted by lack of access to health-care facilities, chronic shortage of doctors and paramedic staff. This is why innovative solutions, like the boat ambulance, telemedicine and mobile health-care delivery are required to bridge the health-care gap. But if the personnel to propel these services are paid far below what their peers earn in private sector jobs in the cities, these services are unlikely to attract top talent, and whatever talent they do net, is unlikely to stay on. Therefore, getting boat ambulances, rural healthcare and, in fact, all government jobs to work requires the government to adopt private sector principles on hiring, retaining talent and firing. Else, it should vacate the space for private sector efficiency to serve the target population better.

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