The basic health care unit that exists in every village and small town is a Primary Health Centre. There are Health Officers in each Primary Health Centre who are qualified doctors. These centres provide routine medical care to the people. The patients who are serious or require surgery are sent to the government hospital in the nearest town. In very small villages, there are only Health Sub-Centres (HSC) or village clinics that have a trained health worker for providing basic health care.
In bigger districts and cities, there are government hospitals that look after the medical needs of the people of the area. They have many more facilities and are well-equipped to deal with any kind of emergency. They have a well-qualified staff and latest medical equipment.
Local health care agencies perform various functions like:
1. Providing education for community health by teaching the importance of .hygiene and sanitation.
2. Looking after the general -health of the people and treating them for common diseases free or at a nominal cost.
3. Running government dispensaries that provide even costly medicines free or at nominal cost.
4. Providing vaccinations and inoculations against diseases like tuberculosis, cholera, polio and other epidemics, free of cost.
5. Running family planning and maternity centres.
6. Organising drives to give people information about the prevention and causes of diseases like smallpox, cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis B, etc.
7. Practising preventive medicine in order to check the spread of diseases like dengue and malaria. Methods of preventive medicine are : creating awareness in the public, fumigation of high risk areas, drainage of standing water, etc.
8. Providing prompt emergency care in case of natural calamities, epidemics and accidents.