By Zeena Johar, President – ICTPH
Provisioning customised services to the rural population encompasses multiple complexities, the most critical of which is an in depth understanding of the given Household (HH). Whether we are talking healthcare or devising optimal wealth maximising solutions for a HH, clear demographic understanding of our target geography is essential for the work at hand. In partnership with the IFMR Trust-led rural banking initiative KGFS, we strive to evaluate spatial heat-maps for various epidemiological parameters for our populations enhancing disease surveillance, service provisioning through hamlet-based SughaVazhvu Guides (SVG) as follow-up, reverse-referral and referral-protocols. As a strategic approach, KGFS closely evaluates the spatial distribution of their catchment population, through synchronising available technologies, for example, Google Earth, with GPS parameters obtained through an intensive field intervention of the KGFS Wealth Mangers. Such practices will allow geographical centering of the village-based KGFS branch and the Rural Micro Health Centre (RMHC), easing access to the entire catchment population. Area allocation of a SVG, along with establishing her regular community beat will be established utilising distance-optimising solutions ensuring maximal productivity. Tagging all members within each community who are availing banking and health services to their HH/Individual ID will allow for close monitoring of his or her health and financial status. Suitable implementation of community-based interventions (e.g. sanitation, waste management, behaviour change campaigns) can be easily identified through spatial profiling of high-risk geographies. For example, high incidence of diarrhea can be used as an indicator for water-related issues within a specific regional area. Local etiology of vector-borne infections can also be identified through the relevant heat mapping process.
Such high-quality, data-based generation, management and evaluation of health-related information and resources will drive pioneering research for rural Indian populations delivering efficacious, cost-effective solutions for our target populations.