Shipping containers turn hi-tech clinics for rural health delivery

About 100 cloud connected micro health centres to be set up in country, one in Pune village on May 14 .

Written by Anuradha Mascarenhas | Pune | Published:May 12, 2015 2:31 am
rural health, pune rural health, mobile clinic, shipping container, disaster management, micro health centre, micro health centre set-up, CSIR, IGIB, CSIR-IGIB, pune news, city news, local news, pune newsline, maharashtra news, Indian Express The computer lab inside a micro health centre.

Modifying shipping containers into mobile clinics, equipped with lab investigation and telecommunications facilities, is the latest effort in disaster management. The aim is to set up more than 100 micro health centres across the country and one at Pabal village in Shirur tehsil of Pune district will be installed on May 14.

“We want to bring affordable high-quality health care to the doorsteps of underprivileged people while collecting large scale quality-assured health data to enable appropriate health policy and research,” Dr Anurag Agrawal, principal scientist at New Delhi-based Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB), which is the coordinator of the project, told The Indian Express.

“Our solution is a cloud-connected micro health centre,” Agrawal said.

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Such micro health centres are already functional at 40 places across the country and have also been taken up through Asia Development Bank in Bhutan and Philippines. Under the scheme, existing 40 ft X 20 ft shipping containers are re-designed and modelled to serve as micro health centres, which also prove helpful during natural disasters.

These clinics are equipped with basic equipment such as ECG machine, lab tests tools, glucometer, spirometer, minor OT table, blood count analyser, autoclave sterlilizer, web-based EMR, integration of patient alert and other medical devices for vaccinations and drug administration. The best part is that they are connected to doctors at hospitals through the health cloud infrastructure. The telemedicine studio also ensures OPD services are provided through remote medical consultation. The micro health centre is designed in such a way that all the services are connected and doctors at various hospitals can immediately give their diagnosis.

Dr S Juvekar, coordinator of the KEM hospital’s health and demographic surveillance project at Vadu, which has been entrusted with the role of installing the micro health centre at Pabal, said there were villages with no hospitals, no equipment, at times no electricity and computers. “Such health centres will be if great help if you consider statistics like one maternal mortality every seven minutes, almost half of the pregnant women not getting any antenatal check-up and one million children dying every year before they are 28 days old,” Juvekar said.

Lack of doctors in remote areas, shortage of drugs and equipment and no system of structured referrals to better equipped health facilities led the IGIB to initiate this project.

“We have tied up with HP-India and other corporates. The initial seed money from CSIR-IGIB is supplemented by HP-India,” Agrawal said.

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