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Healthcare in Rural Areas: Services and Improvement

Rural health is the study of healthcare delivery in relation to rural population and its environment (Beaulieu & Berry, 2007). Most developing countries are faced with health problems especially in rural areas. In most cases, non-profit organizations join hands; start up projects, which can bring some improvement to rural health (Kohn, Corrigan & Donaldson 2001):

The greatest problem that affects rural health care is usually poor service delivery and unequal distribution of resources, both labour form and money. Nobody is willing to work in rural areas. Most professionals prefer to work in urban areas due to the standard of life. Patients also undergo some hardships depending on the illness. Some have complex diseases, which forces them to go for a long distance in order to seek medications (Donaldson, 2002).

Rural Health Status

This assessment seems to be lower in rural areas than in urban areas. Death rate in rural areas is very high. The following are a number of reasons why this is the case (Donaldson, 2002).

  • High chances of respiratory diseases
  • Various forms of injuries for example poisonings

There are various determinants of health in rural areas (Calion, 2004).

  • The level of education and literacy
  • Income and social status
  • The physical environment
  • Healthcare services available

Physical environment is one of the key determinants that control heath in rural areas. This is because environmental conditions are fresh and the houses are not crowded (Crichton, 2001).

Healthcare Services in Rural Areas

Rural community generally has poor health status and they have greater needs for a primary healthcare. They are faced with difficulties of accessing these facilities. There is also a problem of distances. This is because they have to travel for long distance before one gets any healthcare (Kohn, Corrigan & Donaldson, 2001).

Improvement of Health Care in Rural Areas

It is very important to have quality healthcare in rural areas. This is because improved healthcare will help to reduce mortality rate, increase life expectancy and reduce morbidity.

Health care in rural areas can be improved though, (Beaulieu & Berry, 2007)

  • Giving quality services to rural population
  • Building health centers which are not located far to each other (Loue & Quill, 2001)
  • Coming up with projects that will boost health in rural areas
  • Employing more health workers and professionals
  • Launching campaigns that will boost health in these remote areas.
  • Giving a hardship allowance to all professionals working in rural areas
  • Taking advanced equipments in rural areas, which could be used for treatments (Glasgow, Johnson & Wright, 2004).
  • Educating the community on the importance of health in rural areas

Various factors affect heath care in rural areas (Committee on the future of rural health care, 2004).

In a report from a survey that was carried out in the country it revealed that few people without medical coverage are likely to visit the doctor than those who have (Crichton, 2001).

Culture. Beliefs by different communities can be of great impact as to whether the community seek healthcare when they become sick or not. In some communities, it is difficult to find a specialist who can speak the same language and this hinders them from seeking health care services (Krugman &Dalinis 2008). Income is also another factor. Rural community is usually accompanied with poverty. Poor people will find it hard to access health care facilities.

Location is another factor that affects health care. People in the urban areas will access health facilities fast than those in urban areas. Rural areas usually have a problem with availability of specialists (Galanter, 2001).


Beaulieu, J. & Berry, E. (2007). Rural health services: a management perspective Washington, DC, AUPHA Press/Health Administration Press.

Committee on the future of rural health care. (2004). Quality through Collaboration: The Future of Rural Health Care. Washington, DC, National Academies Press.

Crichton, A. (2001).Health care: a community concern? Developments in the organization of Canadian health services. Calgary, University of Calgary Press.

Donaldson, M. (2002). Measuring the Quality of Health Care.Washington, DC, National Academies Press.

Galanter, M. (2001).Services research in the era of managed care: organization, access, economics, outcome. Oxford, Splingler.

Glasgow, N. Johnson, E. & Wright, L. (2004). Critical issues in rural health. Malden, MA, Wiley-Blackwell.

Kohn, L. Corrigan, J. & Donaldson, M. (2001). Building a safer health system Washington, DC, National Academies Press.

Krugman, C. & Dalinis, P. (2008).Ethical Issues in Rural Health Care.Batimore, MD, Publisher JHU Press, 2008.

Loue, S. & Quill, E. (2001).Handbook of rural health.Oxford, Springer.

Calion, R. (2004). Quality health care: a guide to developing and using indicators. New York, Jones & Bartlett Learning.