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Health cargo drops anchor

Many PLUs (people like us) catch up with children, spouses, relatives and friends staying in other corners of the world through Skype.

Jamshedpur MP Ajoy Kumar has decided to use this advanced voice-over IP service to offer medical care and consultancy to needy patients.

A cargo container has been recycled into the fully air-conditioned e-centre at Sido-Kanhu Maidan, Bagbera, a kilometre off Tatanagar station.

Packed with computers, an LED TV and equipment for pathological, X-ray, ECG, echocardiogram and ultrasound tests and furnished with plywood interiors, it is safe to say no ship will recognise the cargo box in its present form.

Once functional, the project will involve Tata Main Hospital (TMH) specialists reaching out to over 2 lakh people on the city’s southern fringes — Bagbera, Kitadih, Ghaghidih, Harharguttu and Jugsalai.

The cost of setting up the hub, Rs 60 lakh, has been borne by MP local area development scheme (MPLADS) funds.

HP Foundation Care Services has given the gadgets and computers.

Tata Steel Rural Development Society (TSRDS), which will pay the salaries of a nurse and paramedic at the centre, will also sponsor medicines and coordinate with TMH doctors for counselling via Skype.

NGO Swayam will maintain database of patients and advise them about follow-ups.

Jamshedpur MP city representative Sashi Bhushan said the MP office was now trying for a dedicated server-leased line. Once that’s done, the centre will start working “by December-end” he added.

Once a patient turns up at the e-health centre, he will be registered and get an identity number. Then, from the centre, the patient will get medical attention through Skype.

Based on the specialist’s advice, patients will get tests done — X-ray, ultrasound, ECG or whatever prescribed — at the centre.

The centre will scan the test reports and email them to the doctors. The following day, the patient will come to the centre again. Over Skype, he will get to know from the doctor what is wrong with him and get his medicines at the centre itself.

“Initially, our e-centre will stay open from 9am to 5pm. Hours may increase depending on footfall,” Bhushan said.

Can the e-healthcare hub be replicated elsewhere?