Access to health care remains difficult for the rural and tribal poor of India due to their remote location, poor knowledge, poverty, and lack of trained personnel — leading to high infant and maternal mortality rates, rampant spread of communicable diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and other ills. This is compounded by the emergence of non-communicable diseases like cancer and diabetes, and trauma/injuries.
The Sir Ratan Tata Trust & Navajbai Ratan Tata Trust has sought to address the above problems under their Rural Health programme. Partnering with health care organisations, Tata Trusts provides basic health care services in the rural and tribal districts. Currently, its work is operationalised in Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh and Tamil Nadu.
The thrust of the programme is on training community and women health volunteers, prevention of child mortality and malnutrition and provision of low-cost rational curative services through rural hospitals. Development of low-cost and appropriate technologies for use at the community level to prevent, diagnose and manage illnesses is an important component of the programme. Field-level research in public health problems and accessible and appropriate health care facilitate constant learning and improvement of services. The programme also focuses on building the capacity and knowledge of medical and para-medical health professionals.
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