Private non-degree practitioners and spatial access to out-patient care in rural India
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Most rural areas in the developing countries lack access to qualified out-patient (OPD) care. The gap in health services provision arises, due to lack of qualified doctors and is oftentimes filled by unqualified doctors who are also known as private non-degree practitioners (PNDPs). Despite their dominance, their presence is often neglected in access to health care studies. This leaves a scenario which lacks informal, but predominant, care. This paper uses a mix-method approach, combining exhaustive quantitative census of all health care providers along with location details in Geographic Information System to address the accessibility to PNDP. Longitudinal quantitative as well as spatial surveys were conducted for 3 years (2010, 2012 and 2013) in districts of Pratapgarh and Kanpur Dehat in state of Uttar Pradesh and Vaishali in Bihar state. The results of this study show that PNDPs account for 25 % of the all health care providers active across the study areas. The PNDPs are active in a radius of 2–5 km and are main workforce for the OPD care. Considering all health care providers PNDPs provide best potential accessibility to OPD care. If the PNDPs are removed from the scenario; remote areas will be the most affected ones, leaving them with almost no OPD care.
KeywordsPrivate non-degree practitioner Spatial access Uttar Pradesh Bihar Health care
Research reported in this article has been funded by the European Union’s FP7 programme, project Community-Based Health Insurance in India, HEALTH-F2-2009-223518. We are grateful to one anonymous reviewer for his very useful comments.
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