There are rural communities and inner-city communities all over the United States and the world that do not have health care readily available. Small towns are losing clinics and hospitals at alarming rates. Poor inner-city communities can also lack the nearby health care that is so important for wellbeing. There are organizations that are trying to solve this problem with online medical advice, mobile medical units, and other programs. What can you do to help?
What Can a Person Do to Help Get Health Care to People Who Need It?
A person who wants to help everyone who needs medical care get it can find the right programs to donate to. Even small donations add up. People can get help at The LifeSavers Foundation which is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that works to use the free medical mobile units in mission projects for children and women in areas that do not have adequate medical services available. They need donations to continue to expand their work. Their medical units are called Doctor spots and serve many areas in the Dallas county area.
Studies have shown that providing basic medical services such as vaccines to children can reduce millions of cases of disease and death, and save $$ billions per year nationally. Wouldn’t it be nice if this program could expand nationally?
When local hospitals are in trouble and have fund drives to stay open, citizens should donate generously to keep them open and in the community. Doctors and nurses and medical students can volunteer time with programs to serve poor or rural communities.
Who Are Underserved Communities?
In this country, patients may find themselves without good health care because of economic, cultural, or social barriers. These barriers affect some people more than others. The most affected are indigenous, black, and people of color communities, and the low-income rural populations.
Medical professionals can help provide care with special programs such as functional medicine which could be more affordable with strategies like group visits, after-hour appointments, and telemedicine. Any programs to help the underserved must take into consideration cost, affordable transportation, and distance challenges. Free or low-cost clinics can be located within underserved communities at set times during the week or month.
Medical professionals willing to donate their time to these projects must be financed somehow by private or public funding.
Medical schools and Teaching Hospitals Are Helping
Many medical schools or teaching hospitals are using both research and some innovative programs to help underserved and vulnerable populations get health care. Research by these institutions has found that health is adversely affected by lack of access to good housing, healthy food, education, and transportation. If these problems are addressed, better health outcomes can be achieved in local communities.
Programs that bring medical care to patients where they are, provide a source for healthy food choices, or provide transportation for patients to get to health care have had very positive results. Funding for these programs and volunteers to operate them are always a need.
Rural Communities Around the World Lack Services
According to WHO, half of the world’s population does not have access to close-by essential healthcare services. The challenge with these communities is the long travel to get medical help. The challenge is how to get these people medical services in their communities. One answer is telemedicine services. With a little training and equipment, patients in these rural communities can communicate with doctors and specialists without leaving their communities.
Another solution is to send traveling physicians to rural communities on scheduled days. Yet another promising solution is to train local clinicians in basic healthcare services and then they can use telecommunication technology to get help from healthcare professionals to care for patients. All of these programs need a constant source of funding. They also need volunteers.