Cris Valerio


Better Design, Better Health: Bringing Telemedicine to Rural India

WHP is bringing better healthcare to rural India through telemedicine and drug delivery.

26-year old Rinku has been bleeding for days. It is a thick, persistent and painful blood that terrifies this mother of four. So she did what many village women in rural India do when health problems reach a certain level of severity; she made the multi-hour trip to a private hospital in the district town of Muzzafarpur hoping for high-quality, if expensive, healthcare.
India is administratively organized into state towns, district towns, block marketplaces, and then villages. Healthcare, as such, is distributed along that supply chain with each level of infrastructure offering a lower standard of care. Rinku's home state of Bihar in northeast India may be the country's fastest growing region, but 85 percent of its 100 million residents live in rural areas and therefore have only immediate access to healthcare at the bottom end of that chain.
This has profound implications on the lives of people, and especially women like Rinku, who have to travel long distances for curative care, much less preventative care. It is these people that Gopi Gopalakrishan, founder of World Health Partners (WHP) and recent recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship, is trying to reach.
His big idea? Build an ecosystem atop the existing private sector. WHP is essentially trying to connect every level of the system from rural health practitioners to pharmacists, drug wholesalers, diagnostic centers and what WHP is calling LMO's, Last Mile Outriders. These are the entrepreneurs delivering medications that last mile from the block to the village level.

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