For the first time, the government will map health facilities, doctors and specialists available in all districts of the country.
About the Project
- The health geo-mapping project has already been completed in four districts chosen as a pilot. When the entire country is covered, the project will cost around Rs 100 crore as per initial estimates drawn up by the Ministry of Health.
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is partnering the project.
- The four districts that have been covered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are Hazaribagh (Jharkhand), Vellore (Tamil Nadu), Dungarpur (Rajasthan) and Dimapur (Nagaland).
- Both government and private health facilities will be mapped, as will be availability and distribution of chemists.
- In the first phase, the government is looking at covering eight states though the names are yet to be finalised. Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are prominent among the probables.
- The official said the mapping of specialists would also ensure that in future planning for medical education, the skewed distribution of seats — specialties such as oncology have very few doctors passing out every year because of the low number of seats — could be addressed keeping in mind the health profile of the country.
Lack of authentic data on healthcare resources has long been one of the biggest impediments to health planning in India. It is universally acknowledged that doctors and health facilities are far more easily available in urban than in rural areas but there has never been an attempt in the past to quantify the gap in density and to plan accordingly.