The Department of Electronics and Communication Engineering, School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore campus, organized an International International Workshop on Rural Healthcare in India on May 18, 2018.
The “International Workshop on Rural Health Care in India” focused on generating new ideas that could improve the health and well-being of indigenous communities in India, using design thinking methods. To set the scene, the first day morning included talks on the government initiatives to improve rural healthcare in India; the current health and life of indigenous tribal communities in Wayanad, including findings from our fieldwork from stage one; and how other tribal village initiatives by Amrita, in the state of Tamil Nadu, have had a meaningful impact on their health and well-being. Following on from the series of talks, participants were put into teams. Teams were carefully selected so that there were people in each team from a range of different backgrounds and with a range of skills (e.g. cultural, medical, technical, commercial, design). The teams were then set the following challenges during the rest of the workshop. Firstly, to debate, discuss and list the issues, problems and concerns of key stakeholders (e.g. tribal villagers, government, healthcare workers, doctors, technologists, private sector) with regards to supporting the health and well-being of people living in rural communities in India; secondly, to generate a range of ideas that could help improve the health and well-being of people in rural communities in India; and finally to evaluate the different ideas proposed in terms of their desirability, feasibility and viability. After each challenge, all teams presented back their insights and ideas to all participants. All participants were guided on how to use different design thinking methods for concept generation and evaluation throughout the workshop.
The final part of the workshop focused on how to translate the ideas proposed in the workshop into meaningful action; whether the activities should be government led, or led by non-governmental organizations such as Amrita, or by the healthcare workers and the tribal communities themselves, or by the private sector, or by a combination of the above.