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Technology for a Healthier Nation

The National Health Portal has taken upon itself to make Indian citizens more aware about healthcare. To facilitate this mission, the organisation is using the latest technology and innovative methods for dissemination of information. Set up by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), the NHP is a single point of access for consolidated and authenticated healthcare related information to citizens. MeraAspataal (My Hospital) is an initiative to capture the patient feedback on the services received from both public and empanelled private health facilities. Aligned with the central government’s MyGov platform, it works through multiple communication channels, including short message service (SMS), outbound dialling (OBD), a mobile application, and a web portal. The application allows feedback to be consolidated, analysed and disseminated on a frequently updated dashboard. The analysed data is then used to improve the quality of the services in healthcare facilities. This initiative has opened doors for patients to connect with the healthcare providers and policymakers and to have their opinion heard and acted upon since it was launched. It has 1,597,094 satisfied consumers till date.

NHP Health Directory Services are being offered through a mobile application. This app provides information related to the hospitals and blood banks across the country.  Some distinguishing features include results as per the current geographical location of the user, showing the nearest facilities. On the other hand, given the vast database of blood bank provided by NBTC, the users can also search for the hospital or blood bank by district, city or facility name. The user can get information related to the current available blood stock in a blood bank. Not only this, the MoHFW, in partnership with the World Health Organisation and the International Telecommunications Union, is using mobile technology for tobacco cessation. As per Global Adult Tobacco Survey India (GATS) 2010, nearly 35 percent of the adults in India (15 years and above) which amounts to as many as 275 million persons, consume tobacco in some form or the other. Tobacco kills almost one million people in India every year and is a major risk factor for cancer, CVDs, chronic lung diseases and stroke.

The WHO-ITU’s Be Healthy Be Mobile initiative aims to reach out to tobacco users of all categories, who want to give up their addiction and are counselled through constant text messaging on mobile phones. Content adaptation and web-based messaging have been developed by Center for Addiction Medicine, National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore. The MoHFW is trying to find new ways and methods to tackle the growing number of diabetics in the country. The high penetration of mobile communication is being utilized or early detection and management of diabetes through innovative ways. This helps to expand the reach of health literacy and services among the general population and high-risk groups, while also improving management and quality of life in confirmed diabetics. India is home to over 60 million adults with diabetes (7.8 percent of the population), of which more than 30 million are undiagnosed or untreated, thus increasing the risk of developing complications and premature mortality. The MoHFW, in collaboration with the WHO Country Office for India, and other partners, has launched mDiabetes. This app will contribute in improving awareness about diabetes and promoting healthy diets and active lifestyle.

mDiabetes will also enhance healthcare seeking early diagnosis, contribute to better adherence to drug or dietary control, self-care, as well as prevention of complications among patients with diabetes. The app is based on proven algorithms for diabetes prevention and care and builds on previous international experiences in using mobile technologies to deliver these interventions. There are other ways in which the MoHFW is trying to improve the quality of life among the citizens. This extends to family planning methods as well. According to National Family Health Survey 2015-16 (NFHS-4), in India the current use of family planning methods among married women (15-49 years) is 53.5 percent and unmet need of family planning is 12.9 percent. Promotion of family planning and ensuring access to preferred contraceptive methods for women and couples is essential to securing the well-being of woman and child, while supporting the health and development of communities. NHP is celebrating the World Population Day this year with the theme, Family Planning is a Human Right which emphasises the fact that every individual has the human right to determine the direction and scope of his or her future in this fundamental way. The National Health Portal has taken upon itself to make Indian citizens more aware about healthcare. To facilitate this mission, the organisation is using the latest technology and innovative methods for dissemination of information. – Daily Pioneer