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Improving Quality of Life by Upgrading Government Health Centers Across India

India’s healthcare system has been battling various issues, including the low number of institutions and less-than-adequate human resources for quite a while now. Essentially, a three-tier structure defined the Indian healthcare system — primary, secondary and tertiary care services.

The Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) states that the delivery of primary health care is provided to the rural population through sub-centre, primary health center (PHC), and community health center (CHC), while secondary care is delivered through district and sub-district hospitals. On the other hand, tertiary care is extended at regional/central level institutions or super-speciality hospitals.

While these public hospitals offer free health services, these facilities are understaffed, poorly equipped, and located mainly in urban areas.

Shortcomings in healthcare

India has been struggling with deficient infrastructure in the form of a lack of well-equipped medical institutes for quite a while now. To add to it, the rate of building such medical teaching or training facilities remains less as compared to the need of the hour.

Pressing problems in India remains a severe shortage of trained manpower in the medical stream, this includes doctors, nurses, paramedics and primary healthcare workers. The situation remains worrisome in rural areas, where almost 66 per cent of India’s population resides.

Even before the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities had been feeling the strain due to unmanageable patient load. Moreover, serving a population of 1.4 billion remains a Herculean task in itself when it comes to suitably managing healthcare facilities.

There is a need to adopt technology wherever possible to streamline the operational and clinical processes for healthcare facilities to manage efficient patient flow.

It is a known fact that accessible and affordable healthcare in the public sector can considerably reduce the rise in dependence on private institutions. However, these centers do not offer quality care like their urban or private counterparts.

Addressing these issues and keeping in view the resources available in India concerning the functional requirement for health centers, the Pehel Foundation (CSR Arm of PNB Housing Finance Ltd.) stepped in to help. In partnership with CSRBOX Foundation (SMEC Trust) with its brand identity as BharatCares, they implemented a CSR Project named ‘Strengthening the Health Services by Upgrading the Community and Primary Health Centres’ in FY 2021-22.

Upgrading healthcare

As a first step, the team identified five PHCs in five districts – Noida, Udaipur, Hyderabad, Gandhinagar and Kanchipuram.

During the initial analysis, it was found that the centers were not well-equipped with medical equipment. The team identified that there was a severe lack of many crucial medical equipment and accessories such as ICU beds, ventilators, and other instrument sets. The key medical facilities and other accessories were limited to the emergency ward, OPD rooms, general ward, and operation theatre. Some centers did not have facilities to treat pregnant and lactating women.

Even the infrastructure of the centers was highly inadequate. The centers reported roofs with water leakage, and dirty non-operational toilets among others.

An ever-lasting impact

Each of these health centers has a varying number of hospitalization beds, emergency rooms, doctors, nurses and patients visiting every day. So to help them provide better healthcare facilities to the patients BharatCares promptly began to implement changes.

Over the next few months, they carried out the upgradation of infrastructure and installation of key medical equipment like ventilators, ECG machine, USG machine, cardiotocography machine, biochemistry analyzer, 5-part haematology, anesthesia machine, cell counting machine, beds and mattress, vaccine carriers, cardiac and multipara monitors, phototherapy unit, labor table, beds and mattresses.

Once the refurbishment and upgradation were completed, representatives from BharatCares began to conduct regular monitoring visits. It was found that the changes resulted in better health status for both patients and medical staff.

Today, over 2800 patients are visiting these upgraded health centers regularly and accessing improved healthcare services. Additionally, thousands of other patients are getting treated through the modern medical equipment and accessories provided by Pehel Foundation.


Roshini Muthukumar

Roshini Muthukumar, a native of Chennai, started her career as a content writer but made a switch to journalism to pursue her passion. She has experience writing about human interest stories, innovative technology, entrepreneurs, research blogs, and more. Previously, Roshini has done internships with The Hindu, Metroplus and worked as a correspondent with The Better India.