Digital Dispensary: Govt’s latest effort to spread healthcare
Access to primary healthcare for people in rural areas of West Bengal got a fillip with a new initiative known as Digital Dispensary. This telemedicine venture has been started in Mousani, a small island in the Sundarbans with around 30,000 inhabitants. It is being implemented through a partnership among the State government, the Namkhana panchayat (of which Mousani is a part) and a private company on a sustainable low-cost model. The venture works as a video-conferencing solution with doctors. The doctors use an artificial intelligence-based diagnostic and prescriptive tool that ensures quick and safe telemedicine consultations. The local gram panchayat extended its support by providing space in its own office. A huge challenge lies in geographical access to remote islands of the Sundarbans, and Digital Dispensary is a commendable effort by the West Bengal Government to overcome that challenge. There are plans to extend this project to many other remote areas of the State.