In May 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO), while highlighting the disruptions in regular healthcare services due to the pandemic, observed that low-income countries suffered the most. In India, data from National Health Mission’s (NHM) Management Information System platform shows that the lockdown negatively impacted immunization rates and maternal healthcare services. A large section of those affected resides in rural India.
Rural healthcare infrastructure requires immediate attention
In the wake of the pandemic, India is faced with the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG for good health and well-being) targets. With 66% of the population residing in rural India, the need of the hour is to focus on strengthening the rural healthcare infrastructure. Along with a trained workforce, motorable roads, and medical equipment, an essential element for ensuring healthcare services is access to sustainable, reliable, and affordable electricity sources in rural healthcare institutions.
The Indian Public Health Standard (IPHS) guideline considers electricity an “essential” element for running health centers. Despite the IPHS guidelines and efforts to electrify every village, 39,286 Sub-Centers (SCs) and 795 Public Health Centers (PHCs) were operating without electricity in 2019.