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In rural India, people are hiding their Covid-19 infection because of mistrust in the health system


The number of Covid-19 cases is easing off across India but not as rapidly in rural as in urban India. Some numbers themselves are under a cloud, particularly in areas where the quality of reporting is not good. A recent Centre for Science and Environment report said that rural districts had seen almost 52% of Covid-19 deaths and 53% of new cases in May 2021, based on a sample study. It also said that community health centres in rural districts needed 76% more doctors, 56% more radiographers and 35% more lab technologists, which illustrates the nature and extent of the problem.

To understand what India can do to improve hard and soft infrastructure in rural areas, we spoke with two doctors who have been working on some of these challenges.

Rajani Bhat, consultant pulmonologist from Bengaluru, is a postgraduate from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and an American Board of Medicine-certified doctor in pulmonary diseases and critical care medicine. Pavitra Mohan, based in Udaipur, is co-founder of Basic Healthcare Services, a non-profit that has been working primarily in southern Rajasthan. He has an MBBS and MD from Delhi University and a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina. He has worked extensively in community-based primary health care…

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