Washington: A healthcare system for rural India, dubbed 'Sughavazhvu', which stands for ‘happy life’ in Tamil, is gaining popularity thanks to it’s use of innovative techniques for providing accessible and appropriate primary healthcare. The techniques involve epidemiological solutions, alternative human resource models, advanced technological platforms and comprehensive health financing.
Zeena Johar, a key Penn Nursing partner and co-founder of SughaVazhvu Healthcare, said that with 75 percent of Indian medical practitioners positioned at urban locations and 72 percent of the Indian population residing in rural locations, there is an overarching need for human resource innovation for delivering health. According to IKP Centre for Technologies in Public Health, India is home to 1.25 billion people and rural care facilities – often the first point of contact for primary care and gatekeepers to secondary care providers – face a near chronic shortage of professional health workers.
Health disparities faced by this underserved rural population are not adequately addressed by the government’s public health system. Patient medical records are typically nonexistent and there is little integration between primary and secondary health providers. In a country where nursing potential is undervalued, the notion of utilizing skilled nurse practitioners is gaining momentum. Penn Nursing’s Assistant Dean for Global Health Affairs, Dr. Marjorie Muecke, has worked directly with ICTPH since 2008 to develop a comprehensive model for providing primary healthcare to rural India. Dr. Wendy Grube, from Penn Nursing, is leading a program to assess competency needs for SughaVazhvu Healthcare providers and is building a curriculum that will emphasize evidence-based practice in assessment, differential point-of-care diagnosis, standardized treatment and follow-up care.