Jowar Health Assurance : 1979 Onwards

The Jowar Health Assurance Scheme with a successful track record of 34-years fulfills the basic tenets of health care delivery. It is designed for the poor living in rural India and is accountable, affordable, appropriate, accessible, equitable and is led by proactive community-level participation from the consumer. By its success, it today serves as a role model for a compassionate way of delivering health care to the rural masses and is worthy of being replicated in other part of the world.

The question on how universal health coverage can be achieved successfully in rural India was in Prof Jajoo’s mind when he joined MGIMS in 1977, fresh out of medical school training and fired up by idealism. The quest to answer this very question is at the heart of this programme that has been guided by Prof Ulhas Jajoo (Refer Our Inspiration) to its current state.

Together with the surrounding villages, Prof. Jajoo and MGIMS started a long journey of fruitful collaboration in 1979 wherein the dream of universal health coverage for the rural poor in Sevagram was achieved over. The coverage provides a comprehensive preventative, promotive, and curative health care to the villages. Each participating village pays a 10% co-payment with the rest of the health expense covered by the hospital. This financial support comes from the central and state governments through MGIMS. This co-payment is in the form of a common fund created by the villager by collecting Jowar (sorghum) during the annual December harvest time. Each family in the village contributes based on size of individual family land holding. The collected harvest is then sold to generate a fund which in turn is used to provide health assurance for the villagers by strengthening primary care services within the village and by subsidizing tertiary health care for all the participants (Refer Jowar Health Assurance Programme).