“Prevention is better than cure”.
And GNRC, the largest and first private super-specialty healthcare group of Eastern India is cashing around this simple principle to change the narrative of the entire healthcare delivery system in this part of the world.
In the year 2014, a concept, ‘Swasthya Mitra’ was introduced under the Affordable Health Mission (AHM) of GNRC. It is one of the building blocks of the mission that was incepted to alter the state of health and healthcare in the remote, impoverished parts of the country. The original idea of ‘Swasthya Mitra’ is to bring changes in the functioning and operation of the healthcare ecosystem.
GNRC is trying to accomplish this mission by creating a huge pool of community health workers who are called ‘Swasthya Mitras’. As of today, they have a workforce of 10000 people who have covered a population of around 15 million in about 12 districts of Assam. Each professional visits five families every day and a hundred families in a month. They educate the common people about the concept of preventive check-ups and become friends with their health.
Interestingly, almost 70% of these health workers are women aged between 35-55 years who are either widowed, separated, or unmarried. In addition to giving healthcare, the Affordable Health Mission also seeks the involvement of the community by using their expertise and services in manufacturing or building an infrastructure thus taking it out of its economic depravity.
Because of this mission, it can now also be seen that these Swasthya Mitras are able to independently start their own business units like schools, sewing classes, etc. in the village society thus building a whole ecosystem that contributes towards the economic upliftment of the community.
Under this programme, GNRC has provided 1,510,060 free doctors consultation along with CT Scan service to more than 40,244 emergency patients, 53,085 ECGs, 277,793 free medicines, 126,477 free emergency treatment, 254,029 free lab procedures, 34,171 free RBS, and more than 38,546 X-Ray procedures.
This unique model in work with its innovative thought process has been going on well with ever-evolving management plans and is hoped to be replicated in other parts of the country as well.
In an interview with the CEO of GNRC, Sixmile, Satabdee Borah said that almost 50% of GNRC’s annual turnover is contributed by the programme. While appreciating the Govt. initiatives like ‘Atal Amrit Abhiyan’ and ‘Ayushman Bharat Yojana’ that have helped in the introduction of healthcare, she also added that a more comprehensive approach is required that will take up the responsibility of healthcare services including the education, assistance, financial help, awareness for all the deprived households. And that an association with public & private organizations will boost this plan to work.
“COVID 19 has taught us to be better prepared in terms of adequate healthcare infrastructure & focus on respiratory & communicable diseases”, said the CEO. She further added that adequate healthcare infrastructure & proper awareness of preventive health will help in tiding over this pandemic and any other epidemics for that matter.