Since 1973, the Barefoot College health care programme has provided basic health services to more than 150 villages in five development blocks of Rajasthan, through a team of Barefoot doctors, health workers, midwives, pathologists and dentists with little or no educational backgrounds.
The College has demystified medical technologies and equipped rural communities with basic health facilities. Through a network of grassroots leaders in the Barefoot health team, the Barefoot College has fostered health awareness among rural men, women and children on issues such as hygiene, food and nutrition, mother and child care, immunization, oral health, family planning, HIV/AIDS and midwifery.
260 Barefoot doctors have been trained to treat patients with common ailments. They can administer allopathic, homeopathic and biochemic medicines. Barefoot doctors care for patients from rural communities, and for children studying in Barefoot night schools, day schools and rural crèches. These doctors are semi-literate with little education and no medical degrees.
The College has been training men and women from villages across the globe so that rural communities can become less dependent on external aid. Their involvement in the planning, implementation and supervision of all programmes has not only generated employment within rural communities but also reduced migration and strengthened local economies.