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4 March 2009
Shimla, India

The initiative envisages connecting 19 health centres at district, block and tehsil headquarters with IGMC Shimla and PGI Chandigarh
Faced with huge challenge of providing healthcare facilities to people in remote areas, the Government of Himachal Pradesh has started an ambitious telemedicine project to connect patient with doctors.

The initiative envisages connecting 19 health centres at district, block and tehsil headquarters with Indira Gandhi Medical College (IGMC) Shimla and PGI Chandigarh through ISDN link to facilitate experts’ advice.

The project has been jointly mooted by the state’s Department of Information Technology (DIT) and the Department of Health keeping in mind the acute shortage of doctors in the snow bound areas and tough geographical locations of the hilly state.

"Rekong Peo, Rampur, Rohroo, Nahan, Banjar, Dharamshala, Bharmaur, Kyelong, Kyelong, Tissa, Pooh, Janjehli, Shialai, Sangrah, Karsog, Chamba, Kullu, Hamirpur and Mandi have been connected under the project with telemedicine facilities at a cost of Rs 4.51 crore, state Information Technology Secretary BK Agarwal said.

He further informed that that Tanda Medical College in Kangra will soon be connected with telemedicine facility.

“The proposed plan has been forwarded to the Health Department to work out modalities for its execution,” he said.

“Once the Tanda Medical College is brought into the network, it will immensely benefit patients from Kangra, Chamba, Una and Hamirpur,” Agarwal said adding that the project will also help the state conduct online healthcare research.

Himachal's efforts to extend basic healthcare to all across the state had been severely hit by the shortage of doctors and the reluctance of specialists to serve in remote and tribal areas.

However, with the launch of the telemedicine project, the Himachal Pradesh government is hopeful of providing quality healthcare services to the rural population of the state.

The state government has also spent Rs 85 lakh to provide training to medical and paramedical staff posted at telemedicine centres, he said adding that more training courses would be organised for additional staff during the current year.

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