Resource Spotlight: Where Have They Gone? Using ICT to Address Health Worker Absenteeism in India

Sudha G. Bhat
Sudha G. Bhat

As a country, India made the decision that healthcare is a human right for all its citizens, but healthcare worker absenteeism has emerged as a major obstacle to making that vision become a reality. One major reason doctors often fail to show up is because the penalties of absence are very little—Doctors still get paid and record keeping is unreliable. The Indo-Dutch Project Management Society (IDPMS) compiled data on the problem and built an easy-to-use SMS/online platform for citizens to report and monitor absenteeism. What is groundbreaking is not the solution itself, but the process by which it emerged—a local organization studied the issue, identified a tool that could help address it, and did so with the benefit of bouncing around ideas with peer groups from other places with similar goals.

This 8 minute video highlights the solution to the problem of doctor absenteeism being deployed in the Karnataka region in southern India. When patients arrive at a primary health clinic and the doctor is absent, they can use their phones to text a central location which will record this data to allow the government to track and citizens to see which clinics are chronically understaffed. [from publisher]

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For additional resources on this topic, visit the Absenteeismand eHealth & mHealth subject categories.

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