Today, we had the pleasure of a visit by Dr. Pavitra Mohan from Basic HealthCare Service. BHS delivers medical care to people in Rajasthan who cannot afford it. Their services include vaccinations, blood sugar checkups, and diagnostic services. They employ doctors and over a hundred nurses in their centres around Rajasthan.
Dr. Mohan educated us about the social environment in which they work. Many of their patients have never visited Udaipur, which is the nearest big city. Additionally, most women patients live within 15 km of their birth village, and even men who work in cities rarely leave their construction sites where they eat and sleep.
BHS focuses on preventative care because it is more cost-effective. By targeting a population that cannot afford to pay, they find ways to avoid unnecessary costs. As a result, their average cost per patient is around Rs 400 per year.
Dr. Mohan also discussed other aspects of their service, such as providing guidance to patients referred to hospitals. Since hospitals can be intimidating, especially for those who rarely leave their homes and villages, BHS assists patients in navigating the hospital system.
Over the past fifteen years, Dr. Mohan and his team have faced and overcome various challenges. One positive development is the improved supply of nurses. Previously, they had to hire nurses from cities who would eventually return. Now, they can hire nurses from the communities they serve, who better understand the people and can empathise with them.
While funding remains a challenge, Dr. Mohan explained that they have considered running a for-profit service to subsidise the not-for-profit one. However, they decided against it as it would divert their focus and resources. Instead, they hope that state-provided medical insurance will cover non-hospitalization care. There are positive signs, including some pilots being run by the Central Government, that this may happen.
We were very thankful to Dr Mohan for taking the time to speak with us and look forward to any future interactions we may have with BHS.