Primary healthcare in rural India is besieged with many problems, and there is a severe lack of dedicated medical professionals, with most facilities being available only in Tier-1 or Tier-2 cities.
However, this initiative by a UK-based doctor might change all that for the better!
Vishal Upadhyay, an orthopaedic surgeon in the UK and Chief Executive Officer of Agile Healthcare and Rehabilitation services, says healthcare facilities are mostly clustered around metro cities, resulting in a sizeable chunk of the population not getting access to doctors. The trouble of going to a city causes delays and increases the problems caused by diseases.
Agile, in collaboration with Kolkata-based Glocal Health Care Services, will all set to offer telemedicine-based primary health care services to patients in the districts of Bengal.
Bihar already has five such centres, and 65 additional ones are scheduled to come up in the next two months across India.
Dr Upadhyay pegs the capital expenditure per centre to be Rs 25 lakh. The patients will be charged Rs 200 for consultation and medicines, with the tests being conducted at 50% of the cost. The health records of all patients will be mentioned in an electronic database.
The digital dispensaries which will provide these services are expected to be staffed with two nurses. Equipment like stethoscopes, foetal heart monitors, laryngoscopes and ECG machines will be provided as well.
The modus operandi of a tele-clinic is relatively simple. The concerned doctor will examine patients through video images, and prescribe medicines. This will help patients who would otherwise have to travel hours to visit urban doctors for common conditions and ailments. In case further examination or treatment is required, the patient will be referred to a hospital.
A tele-clinic for providing primary healthcare in rural and suburban areas is a great idea. Most of rural India doesn’t have access to quality healthcare, and apart from not being able to afford the high costs, the rural population is also wary of urban medical professionals. A local clinic will help create some faith in the medical system.
The doctors will be taking time out of their busy schedules, to treat patients via video conference facilities. Let us hope, more tele-clinics come up in other rural areas across India, and more doctors agree to make time to help the rural population.