Now, a health campaign through SMS | india | Hindustan Times
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Now, a health campaign through SMS

india Updated: Feb 04, 2010 00:17 IST
Peeyush Khandelwal

The health department seems to be making full use of the Internet, especially the free services available via SMS (Short Messaging Service) to connect to the masses.

The Ghaziabad health department has now contemplated the full use of free-SMS services available through various websites to educate and inform the masses about the polio-vaccination dates and schedules in the district.

Badly-hit by the polio virus in 2009, the district health department has now come up with the idea of a call-centre at the MMG district hospital to educate, inform and update parents about the due dates of polio-vaccination and various schedules.

“The easiest way to connect to people nowadays is through mobile phones. We will send the schedule of the polio campaign and due dates of the vaccination for children,” said said A.K. Dhawan, Ghaziabad Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

“This program has been initiated at our own level,” he added.

“Due to lack of funds, we will make use of free-SMS websites and inform parents through it,” said Dhawan.

The officials also intend to expand the program to the entire district in future. They have already started collection of database of mobile phone users in three areas of Dasna, Piplehda and Nahal, which were badly-hit by the emergence of the deadly polio virus in 2009.

A total of 63 cases of P1 and P3 polio virus were reported from the entire district in 2009, officials said.

“It is a good idea that we will receive information and schedules of vaccinations on our mobiles,” said Parvez Ali, a Dasna resident.

“These dates are sometimes difficult to remember. The initiative is appreciable,” he added.

Apart from the health department, the free-SMS services through the Internet are also regularly used by the Ghaziabad Police.

The police information department uses free-SMS services to connect to limited user-groups to convey the message in the shortest possible time. “The services are free and we have been using them for the past two months, to connect to our limited groups,” he added.

“We intend to expand SMS services in future to convey news and alerts for residents,” said a police spokesman.