Two remote Health Sub Centres (HSC) in Coimbatore - Anaikatti and Rottikadai - are to be upgraded as part of the first phase of a pilot project to launch a telemedicine programme in 33 HSCs across the state.
The total cost of the ‘Telemedicine 104’ initiative is estimated to be `5 crore and is being overseen by a 16 member State-level committee chaired by Principal Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan. The 104 helpline is similar to the 108 emergency service and will function 24/7, providing assistance on matters such as first aid, disease prevention and information on health programmes in addition to acting as a redressal mechanism for deficiencies in services The helpline will be operated by Emergency Management and Research Institute (EMRI), linking it with the 108 service and offering resource mobilisation for managing casualties, and tracking of high risk antenatal mothers in rural areas.
While 80 per cent of the staff at the helpline’s main call centre in Chennai will be paramedics, the rest will be experienced doctors to guide each telemedicine centre on treatment procedures.
“Staff at Anaikatti and Rottikadai will be trained for the programme and `15 lakh each would be allocated for constructing the telemedicine centres. Moreover, the centres will have equipment such as ultrasonogram, ventilator, ambu bag and oxygen concentrator along with accessories for data transmission and video conferencing,” says R Damodaran.