The tele-health services (THS) are proving to be a boon in tribal areas of Himachal Pradesh. Achieving milestones and providing respite to the natives of the tribal belt of Kaza and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district till 28 February, 2018 a total of 10,000 plus tele-consultations across all major medical specialties, including some super-specialties. So far, as many as 750 emergency cases have been stabilized at Kaza and Keylong. Furthermore, more than 88 women have been screened under the tele-cervical cancer screening and above 6500 lab tests have been provided through the tele-laboratory services, reveals the data.
The THS has figured as one of the best practices in the country and has stemmed from dire need to extend health services in the remotest areas of the state owing to the connectivity issues that include both road and telephone services. Most of the places in the Lahaul and Spiti valley are landlocked for 6 months of the year due to heavy snowfall and freezing temperature, making movement almost impossible due to road blockages. Besides, low population density added to the problem. Recognizing the need for conventional, affordable, and quality healthcare services, the National Health Mission (NHM), department of health and family welfare engaged Apollo Hospitals for establishment of two telemedicine centers in the existing hospitals at Kaza and Keylong in Lahaul and Spiti district. The objective was to provide world class, round the year, all-weather speciality healthcare services, there was a need for innovative and technology enabled health care model.
The project was initiated on 12 January, 2015 in Kaza and Keylong as a part of a pilot project and the services of Apollo Tele Health Services (ATHS) was sought. The ATHS team interacted with all major stakeholders, including administrators, doctors, district health officials, patients, and the community at the state, district, and village level, prior to implementation. It was found that people commuted 20–50 km for primary and up to 250 km for secondary healthcare. Clinical problems included COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), tuberculosis, asthma, pneumonia, osteoarthritis, diabetes, hypertension, jaundice. ATHS was asked to provide tele-emergency and tele-specialty and super-specialty services on a public–private partnership (PPP) mode. – The Statesman