The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Online treatment hope for district healthcare

Hijli (Kharagpur), Nov. 10: Health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra has said that soon all district, subdivisional and rural hospitals will be linked through computers with the referral teaching hospitals in Calcutta.

Once the link is established, experts from the city can treat patients in the district and rural hospitals. “Patients from the districts will not be required to go to Calcutta for specialist treatment as the physicians based in Calcutta will be available for long-distance consultation by virtue of the network,” Mishra said.

Computer screens will soon replace electronic display boards in Calcutta hospitals. “They will display, among other vital information, the status of bed vacancy at other hospitals,” Mishra said. “Detailed clinical and pathological information about patients from the time of admission to release will be on computerised record.” Details on the stock of medicines, their batch numbers and expiry dates will also be computerised.

Mishra was here to launch Preventive, Promotive and Curative Health Care System — a software application developed by the IIT — at the Hijli Rural Hospital. The software will help the hospital maintain data on patients and their treatment.

In an apparent attack on the healthcare industry, Mishra said: “We always stress on prevention, rather than cure. Everybody welcomes such an attitude but for a section of doctors, medicine companies and producers of medical equipment.”

The health minister also criticised the media. “Journalists tend to ignore the fact that hospitals always stay crowded because they provide quality treatment to common people. I was criticised when I said incubators are not required to treat children. Even editorials were written against me. But this is not my personal viewpoint, it has been expressed by childspecialists around the world,” explained Mishra.

Mishra claimed that the rate of child death in the state is low (50 out of 1,000). “We in the government are not magicians. Child deaths occur due to early marriage and conception, anaemia, malnutrition of prospective mothers, premature delivery, negligence about pre and postnatal vaccinations. We require increased use of infotech to prevent such incidents,” he said.

Ajoy Kumar Roy, the IIT professor who led the tem that designed and developed the software, said: “It will help store information about child immunisation, pregnancy statistics, birth control measures adopted by villagers, contagious diseases and the government’s healthcare performance.”

District magistrate M.V. Rao said these health kiosks will control about 25,000 births in the district during the next year. The annual birth rate of the district is 75,000. “Our motto is child by choice not by chance,” said Rao.

The health minister next visited the Khelar village to inaugurate the first village information kiosk in the eastern region of the country. The local MP Prabodh Panda was present on the occasion along with the chief medical officer of health Mangobinda Mondal.


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