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Our world shortchanges rural people. Globally, >1.5 billion people, mostly rural - have never seen a trained doctor. This gap is mostly filled by Village Medics (VMs) - untrained or semi-trained medicine sellers - who are first-points-of-care for 40-80% rural people across many countries. Patients seek care from them for everything from simple colds to minor procedures. They enjoy strong reputation and trust in communities, making them indispensable for rural healthcare delivery and achieving SDGs. However, VMs have little medical training and lack the skills for providing quality care. Governments and health NGOs typically shun them, and have invested billions to displace them by building alternate infrastructure and cadres of workers, with few results. The key barrier to mainstreaming and integration with formal sector has been the difficulty of monitoring a decentralized group of entrepreneurs, and the self-serving but false belief among doctors that VMs are all unethical "quacks".
The solution is to organize this informal workforce and raise their quality through a combination of skill-building, equipping with the right technologies and products, and creating linkages with the formal sector. However, incentives on both sides are key, and must be done in a way that both VMs and the other parties benefit significantly. Jeeon identifies high potential VMs through its e-learning app and quizzes, and upgrades them systematically through a series of gamified "levels", making them more competitive in the market. Tier 1 VMs sell health products, Tier 2 offers referrals, Tier 3 telemedicine & diagnostics, etc. Each tier builds and depends on the previous tier, and creates positive incentives for VMs to stick to the platform long-term and deliver quality care. Partner hospitals, doctors and pharmaceuticals in the network stand to benefit by accessing the large untapped footfalls VMs enjoy, to increase their customer reach and market their products.