This is of particular concern, as surface water forms a chief irrigation water source, thus potentially contaminating food and feed crops, which further amplify the development of AMR through the spread via the food chain.

What does this mean for health policies?

As described above, despite the great advances in rural development and the shrinking rural-urban health gap, rural areas remain underserviced. In light of Sustainable Development Goal 3, “Good Health and Well-Being”, it is important to create incentives for doctors, nurses and other skilled health staff to come to rural areas, as well for attracting investment from insurance companies, private providers and pharmaceutical companies to promote rural healthcare. Here, digital solutions can also help to bridge the rural-urban divide. In India, for example, an app-based clinical decision support tool was developed to support accredited social health care activists (ASHAs) in identifying and managing a wider range of diseases. As a result, fewer visits to healthcare facilities were required, saving time and resources for the individuals and easing pressure on the overcrowded facilities.