Union minister Jitendra Singh launches tele-digital health program at BHU, to cover 60,000 patients

VARANASI Minister of state for science and technology, Jitendra Singh, on Friday said that telemedicine technology was going to be the main pillar of India’s future health care system
Minister of state for science and technology, Jitendra Singh launching the Tele-Digital Healthcare Pilot Programme at Banaras Hindu University. (HT photo)
Minister of state for science and technology, Jitendra Singh launching the Tele-Digital Healthcare Pilot Programme at Banaras Hindu University. (HT photo)
Updated on Jan 01, 2022 12:21 AM IST
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VARANASI Minister of state for science and technology, Jitendra Singh, on Friday said that telemedicine technology was going to be the main pillar of India’s future health care system. He said that the innovative healthcare solution could save the country 4-5 billion US dollars every year and replace half of the in-person outpatient consultations.

Singh was speaking at the launch of the Tele-Digital Healthcare Pilot Programme at Banaras Hindu University (BHU).

The minister said, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Digital Health Mission is to ensure health care delivery accessible, available and affordable to all, particularly the poor living in rural and inaccessible terrain. Telemedicine in the country has proven to be cost effective by about 30% less than in-person visits.” Singh said that though telemedicine technology was in vogue for quite some time in the country, but it got a fillip in post-Covid era and in the wake of PM Modi’s push to Digital Health Ecosystem in India.

The minister said that with rapid advancement in technology, robotic surgery would also become a reality very soon and it would increase the mettle of doctors in the country.

Pointing out to very low doctor-patient ratio in India that is about one per 1,457 citizens, Singh said, “Tele-medicine is no longer an option but a necessity. About 65% of India’s population that lives in rural villages where the doctor-patient ratio is as low as one doctor per 25,000 citizens, therefore they must get best of medical advice from doctors based in towns and metropolitan cities through this technology. It will not only help the patients save their time and money, but also the doctors who can quickly assist their patients over a call for the same and actively engage in promptly treating patients with major ailments.”

The union minister said, the health project starting in three districts of Varanasi, Gorakhpur and Kamjong village in Mainpuri will cover 60,000 patients in the initial phase and it will be scaled up gradually to cover the entire country in the coming years. Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC), an autonomous body of Department of Science and Technology at the Centre, has designed a pilot Tele-diagnostics project in collaboration with IIT Madras-Pravartak Foundation Technologies & CDAC Mohali. This will also generate Electronic Health Record (EHR) for Indian population.

Singh said that PM Modi had given very high priority to the health sector and this year’s budget increased the spending on healthcare by 137%, which is in line with industry expectations of 2.5%-3% of the GDP. The minister informed that India would spend 2.23 lakh crore on healthcare this fiscal including 35,000 crore on Covid-19 vaccines.

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Thursday, January 20, 2022