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Lack of access to adequate healthcare despite the penetration of mobile and data services in remote areas is a continuous struggle in India. In a bid to bridge this gap, create awareness and provide access to modern affordable healthcare through technology, online platform myUpchar was launched in 2016.
myUpchar allows users to access medically certified health and wellness information in vernacular languages and connects them with doctors for virtual consultations. "The gap in affordable healthcare was not only due to concentration of medical personnel and infrastructure in a few cities, but also because of the linguistic divide that prevented people from accessing medical information, which is available mostly in English," says Manuj Garg, Co-founder at myUpchar.
myUpchar says it serves close to 50 million people every month, of which over 90 percent are tie-two, three, and four users. Each month, one million of the site's visitors seek teleconsultations and other medical services. Garg believes that while the idea was to bring modern medicine to those who did not have access to it, deeper penetration of smartphones and the internet prompted the move to online.
"According to World Bank data, India has 0.86 doctors per 1,000 people, lower than the World Health Organisation recommended 1 per 1,000. It would be great to see the day when everyone, everywhere in the country has access to healthcare anytime they need," rues Garg.
Several studies measure the lacunae in awareness and lack of affordability of healthcare costs in India. According to a World Bank report, out of pocket, healthcare expenditure is at 70 percent in India while less than 20 percent of the population is covered by health insurance either private or government, states an Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) report. Therefore, platforms, such as myUpchar, drive social change by providing affordable and immediate healthcare services.
"To make a meaningful difference, you need to address the real problem," says Garg, adding that replicating businesses that work in other countries is tempting but it only solves local problems or addresses regional challenges.
While the journey has been deeply satisfying, Garg believes it is just the beginning. "To know that we live in a society where we're finally able to provide basic healthcare to everyone is a day I look forward to," he says. myUpchar is working towards this goal, one step at a time.
“In India, even today, millions don’t have access to healthcare services and language is one of the biggest barriers faced by those living in remote areas. myUpchar is on a mission to make India healthy. They have brought solutions to bridge the gap and its impact can be seen in the number of people it has reached since their inception.” Amit Kumar Bajaj, Partner, Grant Thornton Bharat LLP
"The Covid-19 has shown that the world is still grappling with the challenge of equal access to healthcare for all. myUpchar has been breaking barriers with their work to make healthcare access affordable, as well available for people in the language of their own. To do so for a country as diverse and vast as India, they deserve a special mention." Aman Dhall, Founder, CommsCredible.