“Earlier, for a blood sugar test in a private clinic, I used to pay Rs 50, but now with health kiosks located all over South Bangalore, it has become easy to get healthcare services at a much affordable price,” says Ambika Nagaraj, a garment factory employee.
What made this transformation possible was an initiative launched by Anant Koppar, the CEO of e-Kshema, last month. An entrepreneur, who had a desire to help the rural segment, especially in healthcare, he set out to form a technology solutions company that provides healthcare IT products as well as consulting.
While pursuing his global ambition, he was also focussing on developing healthcare devices targeted at rural as well as urban markets. In 2009, he launched eco-friendly and wireless enabled devices ‘Kshema’ which was built on an Intel-embedded platform, which runs applications such as electronic health records, blood bank management system, tele-pathology ‘CytoSight’ and tele-radiology ‘TomoSight’.
Having spent almost five years after the launch in research and experimentation, he finally fulfilled his dream of setting up permanent kiosks last month at 18 locations. The health kiosks provide services like blood sugar and urine test, BP check, ECG check, pulse rate and are set-up in 18 BBMP Hospitals all over south Bangalore. This project has been undertaken in areas like Jayanagar, Basavanagudi, Kumaraswamy Layout, Chandra Layout, Govindarajnagar, Banashankari, Chamarajpet, V V Puram Pobbathi, Wilson Garden, Adugodi, Vidyapeeta, BTM Layout, Tavarekere and other areas. Thus providing the urban poor and people below poverty line with the healthcare services.
A team of trained members operate equipment to identify diseases and the reports are then handed over to medical practitioners to diagnose the diseases. This practice has helped the doctors of BBMP hospitals to diagnose diseases. Appreciating the initiative, Vazeer Ahmed, lab technician of BBMP Hospital in Jayanagar, said, “Earlier these facilities were provided only at maternity homes and the reports had to be collected from there. But, these services provided in Kiosks have made our work easier. We can now provide Blood sugar reports within a less time frame.”
Speaking about the start of the kiosks in the city, Anant Koppar said, “I started the kiosks based on my research on ‘affordable and quality healthcare for rural India, based on ICT mode’ and my experiences gathered over the years. Medical services are expensive. This is a permanent initiative to help the rural and urban poor.”
Anant also aims to expand the project to different parts of the city, country and African countries, South East Asia, Middle East and other countries where people are in immediate need of health care services. Also, an equipment to test the haemoglobin count will be introduced within a time frame of one month.
“Apart from these, an equipment which identifies chikungunya and dengue fever will be introduced in a span of six months. The research work is still in progress,” added Raghavendra V Kulkarni, associate delivery manager of Kshema Technologies.
The healthcare services at these kiosks are offered at just `120 for nine types of disease identification tests. Over 10-15 patients visit the health kiosks everyday.
When asked about the tie-up with the BBMP hospital, Anant said, “There were many challenges faced by the medical practitioners in the BBMP hospitals. The equipment were sometimes not available when required. So, in order to help the urban poor, we have collaborated with BBMP hospitals.”
The e-Kshema project is also a collaboration with the Adamya Chetana, an NGO headed by Ananthkumar, MP, South Bangalore and Tejaswini Ananthkumar.
In conversation with City Express, Tejaswini said, “Disease like BP, diabetes and other problems are commonly prevalent in the urban set up. Ananthkumar was interested in the initiative taken up by e-Kshema as it reaches out to the larger audience in Bangalore. We would also like to take up this project in every ward and constituency in the city.”
Eighteen kiosks will offer health care services free of cost till October 2.