Mobile Telephone Interactions and Perspectives in the Health Sector of Rural Bengal of India
This study, conducted in Karea village (Daskalgram-Karea II) under Bolpur sub-division of Birbhum district, aimed to assess how mobile telephony is impacting delivery and availability of healthcare services. Given that the village has previously had issues with healthcare support system, it emerged as ideal ground for this study. Employing survey, focus group discussion and interviews of varied stakeholders, this study found high mobile phone ownership in the village. Smartphone use is also not uncommon. People are using mobiles for healthcare purposes, but a large number is not doing so. They are using their phones for other purposes, but not really for healthcare. This underlines opportunity for healthcare workers and officials to encourage more villagers to use mobile phones for calling health support. Notwithstanding this, phones are being used by villagers to call for ambulances and doctors and get patients admitted into hospitals. Workers and officials are also using phones to spread awareness about health issues and health-related programmes. More awareness-building initiatives about use of mobiles for availing healthcare services, need to be undertaken which can make beneficial impact on ground.