Govt Launches SEHAT, A Tele-Medicine Initiative In Partnership With Apollo Hospitals
The government of India has flagged off a new initiative called “SEHAT” in collaboration with The department of electronics and Information Technology. It is an unique initiative wherein Medical services can be availed online. Not that we have a drought of such services but this new government initiative will partner with Apollo Hospitals for Medical services and the DietY will provide the infrastructure for this launch.
The program as of now plans to provide these services in about 60,000 common service centres (CSC) wherein the medical staff of Apollo Hospitals will communicate and prescribe generic medicines online. This is another Digital India spin off.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister, DietY added in more light towards this new initiative, “The digitalization initiative of the government is to build a truly inclusive and enlightened India. The unique initiative for healthcare in India, ‘SEHAT’, launched today is an initiative in furtherance to government’s commitment to empower rural citizens in having access to information, knowledge, skills and other services in various sectors through the intervention of digital technologies and fulfilling the vision of a Digital India”
These tele-consultation services will be detailed and signed out in a Memorandum of Understanding between Apollo and Medanta and the Government of India. This is will dominantly facilitated in rural areas and the government aims to have at least one CSC in every panchayat. Just as we had earlier heard about the e-Saathi launched by the government to facilitate and train Indian household women about the Internet on a cycle, this initiative also wants to educate villagers on computer and internet usage in these centres. One can say that a CSC will be the catalyst in bringing about a change in educating and providing medical services to the rural population, which happen to be the most important yet most neglected sectors in the rural setup: Education and Medication.
We still are living in times where “education” and “medication” are considered bhagya (luck) when it is their hak (right). This is especially true in rural spaces. With most of the rural population migrating to cities for better job opportunities and the villages have turned into abandoned hollows where basic necessities are often absent.
The proposition of this initiative looks simple on the paper but the execution might turn out to be tough and complex. Also many questions arise on the quality of service that can provided with the internet being the only mediator between the patient and doctor. Given a choice, patients and even doctors prefer meeting each other physically, as it increases the comfort. There are a few limitations to consulting a doctor online, lack of personal attendance being the most important one.
The government has not come up with any other details of this initiative yet but we hope they have addressed some of the major issues here. Nevertheless, this new program does look lucrative and considering it’s reach, rural India can now avail top notch services online without having to spend thousands on travel and accommodation in the city in search of good medication.
[source / Image – Shutterstock.com]