Govt launches Sehat telemedicine initiative

The government on Tuesday launched a pan-India health initiative called Sehat in line with its Digital India vision. The initiative, which will be run in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals, aims to connect 60,000 common service centres across the country and provide healthcare access to citizens irrespective of their geographical location.

The flagship Digital India initiative is an umbrella programme that seeks to build digital infrastructure, provide government service on the web and mobile platforms and digitally empower all the citizens with an estimated investment ofRs.1.13 trillion over the next three to five years.

Sehat is short for Social Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine.

Information technology and telecommunications minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the government is working to empower the underprivileged and rural communities both socially and economically to build an inclusive India.

One of the targets of Digital India is to connect all the villages at the panchayat level through some 250,000 common service centres that will act as access points for delivery of various government services to citizens.

Apollo Hospitals has opened India&rsquos first telemedicine centre in 2000 in Aragonda, Andhra Pradesh, which was inaugurated by Bill Clinton, the then president of the US, the company said.

&ldquoTelemedicine can provide rural population access for basic, specialty and super specialty consultations. Since 80% of conditions do not require a doctor&rsquos physical presence immediately, they can be dealt with through telemedicine,&rdquo said Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals. &ldquoMost lifestyle and communicable diseases fall into this category.&rdquo

 

- Moulishree Srivastava