With twelve case studies from six countries, including India, a recent health equity report points out that technology and delivery models have made healthcare more accessible.

The report showcased examples from Bangladesh, India, Morocco, Rwanda, South Africa, and Vietnam, that innovated to improve health equity and inclusion across the Global South.

Examples showcased in the report include Bangladesh’s Jeeon Foundation, a digital network of more than 30,000 pharmacies in Bangladesh; Rwanda’s Babyl, a digital health service provider; Rwanda’s Mizero Care Digital health initiative, which reaches out to marginalised and stigmatised communities; South Africa’s Central Chronic Medication Dispensing and Distribution, an alternative access to chronic medication, that reduces clinicians’ workload and focuses on patient treatment adherence; South Africa’s Unjani Clinic Network, which assists and strengthens the government’s public health infrastructure using community-based clinics run by nurse entrepreneurs; and India’s iKure Techsoft Primary healthcare model, which trains local community members to become frontline health workers addressing the shortage of qualified medical staff and inadequate public health expenditure.

The report was launched by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) and Gilead Sciences at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi, on Wednesday.

The report further points out that “task shifting” between layers of health staff can conserve precious healthcare human resources, especially in geographies faced with shortages. “For instance, nurses supported by appropriate technology can do tasks previously done by doctors, and community healthcare workers can do tasks previously done by nurses. In countries where there is a consistent shortage of more qualified health workers, this ensures that care can still be delivered effectively,” a note on the report said.

Similarly, a diagnostics revolution meant that affordable rapid diagnosis for a host of diseases was becoming available in rural healthcare clinics. Besides this, the use of telemedicine allowed patients to receive remote treatment plans from a doctor, which can then be explained by a local health worker. “This translates into previously less qualified health workers taking on much of the heavy lifting in the health system,” it noted.