The Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is piloting several health projects incorporating the use of telemedicine technology and SMS based health surveillance reporting. Through these initiatives the Government intends to speed up disease detection, treatment and monitor communities in remote locations. It also plans to spread awareness among remote communities on precautions to be taken to prevent communicable diseases from turning into epidemics.

Answering a question on the subject in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Dinesh Trivedi outlined some details about these projects:

– Under its Integrated Disease Surveillance Project(IDSP), the Ministry has piloted SMS based reporting of health surveillance data by its health workers in six districts of Andhra Pradesh.

– A scheme has been approved for the setting up of a National Medical College Network for Rs.60 crore.

– It has released Rs.1.43 crore for setting up, Regional Cancer Centres and Peripheral Centres for facilitating telemedicine services in Cancer treatment, follow up consultation, early cancer detection and cancer awareness generation.

– The Ministry has also allocated Rs.3.37 crore for Tele-ophthalmology for the elimination of preventable blindness from the rural, tribal and unserved area in the country.

– Pilot demonstration projects for implementation of Telemedicine, including a Mobile Telemedicine project, in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Himanchal Pradesh, Punjab, Tripura, Mizoram and Sikkim, have been funded by the government.