Community Health Aid Efficacy: Informed Observations from Himalayan Communities in Northeastern India

Joseph Thomas Millward

Abstract


In India, the concurrence of market and government failures in healthcare exacerbate the economic and medical burden of disease for a considerable number of citizens, however there is currently little data and research focusing on healthcare in Himalayan communities of Northeastern India, which face infrastructural and economic isolation. Thus, the following research question has been posed: Have community health programs for Himalayan communities in the Kalimpong, Darjeeling, and Dooars regions of North Bengal been effective in improving the economic and medical well-being of the poor? This research question has been informed through data gathered from semi-structured interviews and surveys, conducted from January 2017 to March 2017 with community health volunteers (CHVs) of Himserve, a non-government organization (NGO) that has been offering health services to Himalayan communities in Northeastern India for the past 14 years. The main findings of this research are as follows: medical and economic burdens of disease for patients with non-chronic and non-acute illnesses have seen improvement, especially for pre & post-natal care, kidney stones, hypertension, and malnourishment, however for patients with chronic or acute illnesses there has been little to no improvement in alleviating the economic and medical burdens of disease, particularly for stroke and heart disease, cancer, epilepsy, and diabetes.

 


Keywords


Public Health, International Economic Development, Aid Efficacy

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