The state government launched telemedicine services for primary health centers in rural areas across all districts in a bid to provide quality preliminary healthcare to the state’s population. Telemedicine is making use of telecommunications and other forms of information technology to provide clinical healthcare from a distance. Chief minister Raghubar Das launched the service from a PHC in Pithoria under Kanke block of Ranchi district, roughly 22km away from the state capital. He was also the first ‘beneficiary’ of the service as he got his blood pressure examined and received health tips from doctors in Hyderabad via satellite. The state department of health, medical education and family welfare said such centers have been started in 100 PHCs in 24 districts in collaboration with a Hyderabad-based private hospital chain. To be operated for five years, each center will have a laboratory technician and an auxiliary nurse mid-wife (ANM) at the consoles of state-of-the-art equipment for echo-cardiogram, malaria, dengue, typhoid, blood sugar, microscopic analysis, fetal doppler and pregnancy tests.
Das said, “Twenty-five such centers have been opened in North Chotanagpur division while South Chotanagpur, Kolhan, Santhal Pargana and Palamu divisions have got 11, 18, 32 and 14 centers respectively.” All test results will be shared with a pool of 30 doctors who will be available via satellite from Hyderabad, who will then write e-prescriptions which will be valid at the PHC’s dispensary and drug stores in the market. Serious ailments will then be referred to hospitals. The centers will be functional for eight hours a day and six days a week. Speaking after the launch, Das said his government is emphasizing on infusing information technology in people centric services. “We are ushering in an era of digital revolution in Jharkhand, beginning with health services,” he said, adding that services like 108 ambulance services are doing a world of good. “I called the services personally to check their efficiency and I was impressed with their behavior and promptness,” Das added. The state government also rolled out a state-level program to rout anemia and sickle cell anemia from children, pregnant women and women aged between 19 years and 49 years. Under the program, beneficiaries will be iron folic acid tablets and screened periodically. As per the department’s estimates, nearly 60 percent of the women in Jharkhand are suffering from anemia. – TOI