Referral and follow-up care

RDT’s mission of providing quality healthcare is not just confined to rural and mobile clinics. In cases of serious and chronic diseases, when the need arises, the clinics refer patients to larger hospitals and institutions for better and advanced treatment.

The reach and capability of the Community Health Workers and the rural and mobile health clinics is vast, but they have their limitations when it comes to serious diseases, in some cases, where the ailment cannot be treated within RDT’s own network of hospitals, referral services come to the rescue. Patients are usually referred to hospitals in Kurnool, Ananthapuram, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Secunderabad, etc. Often, these locations are near their place of abode and people can easily travel there. The referred cases are then followed up by the RDT staff members to ensure that they receive cost-effective, timely and affordable treatment in the specialized departments of the concerned hospital.CHWs, School Health Doctors, Rural Clinic Doctors and HOs, who are regularly in touch with the villagers, identify the patients needed to be referred based on severity of the disorder and urgency for medical treatment.

“Today, our patients can receive treatment at the hands of some of the best doctors in the country via referrals."
ATL, Health Sector, Uravakonda

Sometimes, patients also directly approach RDT for referral services, especially when significant financial support is required. The common man looking for a major treatment can’t necessarily rely on the government hospitals as they be stretched to their capacity, and private hospitals are out of reach because of the high costs involved. In such cases villagers have resorted to selling their property, land and personal savings to meet the cost of treatment, and find themselves in debt for life. RDT extensively funds cases where timely intervention in specialised hospitals can make all the difference to the patient.

Referrals have been carried out for problems such as cardiac surgeries for children, kidney dialysis, poisoning, cancer, head injuries, severe burns, kidney transplant, thalassemia, cirrhosis of liver, pancreatitis, Wilson’s disease, traumatic quadriparesis, emergency and incidental cases, etc. Some of the largest number of cases referred out for specialist attention are those of Harelip and Cleft Palate surgeries. Over the years, thousands of patients have had these surgeries with RDT’s referral, enabling them to lead normal lives.

Referral services lead to the design and implementation of the ‘Arogyashree’ scheme, run by the government to extend quality medical services to the poor. In this, the rural poor who are having the least access to support services are issued with Arogyashree cards, which ensures convenience in accessing medical services at government as well as private hospitals. This also ensures that the medical conditions of the poor are being effectively addressed.

Most importantly, RDT’s referral system has brought a level of confidence in villagers that they have access to the best possible care and drawn them to come forth with their problems. Starting from CHWs at a village level, to Health Officers, outreach doctors, RDT hospitals and finally, the referral programme has been an end-to-end spectrum of affordable and accessible healthcare services and making it available to an increasingly aware and well-informed rural population.


“It is indeed amazing that local villagers in Ananthapuram today can enjoy world-class care for almost any ailment or injury under the sun. If not through our network, then through our referral network. I am deeply privileged to be part of the core team that continues to reach out to quality institutions outside Ananthapuram to establish referral ties with them for the villagers under RDT’s care”

Vanitha Reddy,
Manager, Referrals


“As a school going student, my friends had always been a big support for me. But I felt hurt and very lonely when they started calling me blind and were ignoring me. I wasn’t actually blind but there was some problem in my eye that caused the closure of the right eyelid. Things further became difficult at school as forcibly opening the eyelid to see the blackboard and also while talking to other people caused severe pain. My parents are illiterate and didn’t show me to the doctor until they realised the severity of the pain and rushed me to Nethralaya Private nursing home in Kurnool. After initial check-ups, the nursing home referred me to Narayana Nethralaya hospital in Bangalore for permanent treatment. The treatment at that hospital was quite costly so I and my parents approached the Team Leader of the health sector who in turn advised us to contact the Community Health Director. The Health Director indeed was a very generous person and without any delay made an official reference for my treatment.

The eye specialists at the hospital diagnosed the disease as ‘Right Eye Hypotropia with Monocular Elevation Deficiency’ for which the only possible treatment was surgery. It was conducted soon and I started feeling much better as the pain in my eyes had significantly reduced. Even after the treatment was over, the RDT health staff members had kept a regular check about my well-being. Now, I can completely concentrate on my studies and my friends and parents are also very happy as I can open my eye without any difficulty.” Suneetha, Madurai village (Aluru, Kurnool)

“With the timely support of RDT I cound get my vision back and lead a normal file once agian.”


In the direst of health cases, due to lack of information, village poor used to waste valuable time at ill-equipped and non-specialised hospitals. By acquiring relevant and timely treatment, rural poor avoid the dreaded vicious circle of debt.