India is home to 1.2 billion people-the world’s largest democracy-and a bustling, vibrant, and culturally and historically rich country in the world’s Global South. One of India’s strongest resources are its people – an expanding workforce that is infinitely diverse across all 36 states and territories-but an increasing population is also one of the country’s biggest challenges. As a lower middle-income country, India continues to face enormous hurdles in poverty, malnutrition, access to education and basic healthcare, and gender inequalities. As of 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that healthy life expectancy at birth for Indians is 57 years for both males and females. Yet despite deeply embedded public health challenges, total expenditure on health in 2012 was a mere 4.1%, as reported by the WHO.
Learn about the challenges of providing adequate healthcare to rural, low-income populations, with 68% of India’s population living in rural areas. This program provides participants with a unique opportunity to encounter various diseases in clinical settings that represent the rural and urban divide in a developing country. The focus will be on primary care services and public health issues, with special emphasis on the needs of rural communities in India that lack access to healthcare. This global health opportunity also offers a window into improvements made in public health, through the persistence of health camps and widespread outreach efforts.
Students will travel through 3 locations throughout the program. The first 2 weeks will be spent in the northern state of Uttarkhand’s capital city of Dehradun, followed by 1 week in the hilltop town of Mussoorie, and the final week in the small rural village of Patti. Traveling to different locations allows participants to experience Indian healthcare through multiple lens, whether at a rural clinic conducting health in isolated Himalayan villages or participating in a village health and sanitation empowerment project.
Become immersed in Indian culture by living with a host family in Dehradun and shared accommodations in Mussoorie and Patti. CFHI participants may organize weekend trips to nearby towns such as Rishikesh – The Gateway to the Garhwal Himalayas.