ISRO enables Telemedicine service enroute Amarnath
The Telemedicine Programme of ISRO is an innovative process of synergising benefits of Satellite communication technology and information technology with Biomedical Engineering and Medical Sciences to deliver the health care services to the remote, distant and underserved regions of the country. ISRO telemedicine facility connects the remote District Hospitals/Health Centres with Super Specialty Hospitals in the cities, through INSAT Satellites for providing expert consultation.
Considering the shortage of doctors in remote, inaccessible and rural areas of the country, the Development and Educational Communication Unit (DECU) of ISRO and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare (MoH&FW), Govt. of India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work jointly towards effective utilisation of ISRO’s satellite based Telemedicine network.
Bringing this noble idea to fruition and in an effort to deliver best healthcare services to residents and lakhs of pilgrims who pass through remote areas near the Holy Amarnath caves, ISRO, MoH&FW and J&K Ministry of Health joined hands to set-up a Satellite based Telemedicine facility at Sheshnag area, located at an elevation of around 13,000 feet in the Kashmir valley.
By July 2016 end, a team consisting of the senior officials from DECU/ISRO (Ahmedabad) and Directorate of Health Services (Srinagar) steadfastly carried out the work to set-up the Telemedicine node at Sheshnag base camp enroute to Amarnath Shrine under extreme weather conditions, difficult terrains and other unexpected challenges.
The Sheshnag telemedicine node consists of a Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) System, videoconferencing equipment, telemedicine software along with medical diagnostic instruments like ECG machine and X-Ray scanner.
The tele-consultation for this node is in the field of General Medicine, Orthopaedics, Respiratory and Cardiology disciplines planned through PGIMER (Chandigarh), SKIIMS (Srinagar), AIIMS (Bhopal), JIPMER (Puducherry). However, the tele-consultation can be obtained from any of the super-specialty nodes set-up across the country.
ISRO and Union Ministry of Health have set on new course for healthcare in India by reaching out to the countrymen, who need it the most, in the remote regions of the country. The Telemedicine centres not only double up as first aid centres, but also provide the best consultation facilities in the remote regions, through specialty hospitals located across the country.
The officials of Health Ministry, Shrine board, local Administration, Indian Air Force, local Police, Army, Border Security Force and Central Reserve Police Force, all worked hand-in-hand, strongly supported and were part of this successful valiant effort.
This work is a shining example of excellent teamwork between diverse agencies of Central and State Government, which will be a trendsetter for the future. The credit goes to every individual of agencies, which participated, in this noble work in different capacities.
Mou signed between DECU/ISRO and MoH & FW
Antenna installation for Telemedicine node
Telemedicine node at Sheshnag, J&K
Telemedicine node with videoconferencing and medical diagnostic instruments
Tele-consultation from PGIMER, Chandigarh to Sheshnag, Jammu & Kashmir
Testing of Telemedicine Equipments in Progress
Team supporting the node establishment