Rural Medicare society: An introduction

Despite economic progress, there is no equitable distribution of health care in India. The benefits of modern medical care reach only the rich and the privileged while almost 400 million cannot afford the high cost of such care. The crushing burden of privatized health care and out of pocket medical expenditure co-exists in our subcontinent. Resolving this is the driving force behind the medical team at the Rural Medicare Centre (RMC), the hospital run by Rural Medicare Society, as they make inroads into socially relevant and inclusive health care. Dealing with the lack of access for socio-economically marginalized people to the primary and secondary level of health care is not about vacuuming the conscience of the doctors of RMC. Rather it has spurred them on a committed mission to enable people to avail medical expertise with dignity across the counter at an affordable cost.

Rural Medicare Society is a non-governmental voluntary organization which started its journey in 1977 from a hired Godown with the sole objective of providing affordable health care to the economically weaker section of society from periurban and rural areas of Delhi and its periphery. Till date, it stands firmly by its commitment and provides a primary and secondary level of health care through its hospital Rural Medicare Centre, a 35 bedded multispecialty hospital to deliver affordable quality medical treatment to those who are economically marginalized and are unable to bear the ever-increasing cost of modern healthcare. The seed of such an initiative was sown by Dr. J.K.Banerjee in 1976 along with a group of socially committed doctors and social scientists by forming a trust, the Rural Medicare Society which is the parent body of RMC (Rural Medicare Centre). The center houses modern medical care infrastructure with comprehensive diagnostic facilities. With 25 visiting consultants covering 12 specialties, the center conducts over 80,000 outpatient consultations and 2,000 surgical interventions annually.

The Society continues its journey of service to mankind with the singular belief that ‘The best way to serve God is to serve mankind’. As a part of its multi-faceted activities, the Rural Medicare Society also assists various other voluntary organizations working in the field of health in many ways. Training of paramedical staff for such organizations is one such activity. The consultant from RMC also provides out-reach services by holding various surgical camps. The society was the prime mover to form a National Body of surgeons (Association of Rural Surgeons of India) working in the rural areas across the country’s length and breadth with the same objectives to provide services to the rural community at their doorsteps.