Battling the Wave: Healthcare Efforts Fighting the COVID-19 Crisis in Rural India

Harsha Vadlamani, Freelancer, India
In Chhattisgarh, one of India’s poorest states with a large indigenous population, only 40% of Primary Healthcare Centers have a medical officer. The country has an overall shortfall of 1.1 million doctors and 3.5 million nurses and midwives. India’s crumbling rural healthcare infrastructure was not prepared for the pandemic. As all resources were diverted to fight the coronavirus, treating other diseases became a low priority. For instance, India accounts for 26% of the world’s tuberculosis cases, but reporting new cases declined by 25-30% between January and June 2020. The lockdowns made it almost impossible for residents from remote villages to travel to the nearest town for healthcare. This project looks at how COVID-19 affected indigenous and rural populations in Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, through the work of doctors working in low-resource settings at four non-profit hospitals operating in different settings.

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