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Saturday March 24th is being celebrated as “IMA National Telemedicine Day”. The
275,000 strong Indian Medical Association with 1700 branches ( www.ima-india.org is
the world’s largest professional body of medical doctors) is joining hands with the
Telemedicine Society of India (www.tsi.org) and ISRO (www.isro.gov.in) to ensure that
the country is informed of what has been done, and more important what needs to be
done, using Telemedicine to bridge the ever increasing urban rural health divide.
Building more hospitals, medical colleges, increasing retirement age of doctors,
producing more doctors, nurses, para medics etc alone is not enough. The exponential
growth in Information and Communication Technology is today making distance
meaningless. Geography is becoming History ! Today basic essentials are Roti, Kapada,
Makan and Bandwidth !
It is well known that creating massive awareness of specific conditions go a very long
way in its utilization. There are more than 300 days associated with healthcare alone.
Eg: World Diabetes day on 14th November, World Cancer Day on 4th February, etc. The
time has now come for a National Telemedicine Day.
On March 24th there will be a 2.5-hour academic programme with distinguished
speakers This will be followed by a 90-minute inaugural function . The Union Health
Minister of India Sri J P Nadda will be the chief guest. Chairman of ISRO, Dy Director
General of WHO, DGAFMS, Addl Secretary Health Govt of India,Chief Secretary
Himachal Pradesh ,Dr Prathap Reddy Chairman Apollo group are participating. 30 of the
senior most officers of the Armed Forces Medical Services will join the selected
invitees. While the physical participation will be restricted to 250, 24 military hospitals
will be connected virtrually. At least 5,000 IMA members from 100 branches will also
join virtually. The venue is the R&R Army Command Hospital @ New Delhi.
Telemedicine Day hopefully will create the much needed awareness and help increase
the use of Information and Communication Technology in providing quality, affordable
healthcare to anyone, anytime, anywhere. We have now come of age with voting rights.
From an outlier we will soon come centre stage.
It was on March 24th 2000 that the world’s first VSAT enabled village hospital (VSAT
provided by ISRO for Apollo Hospitals Aragonda) was formally commissioned by Mr
Bill Clinton, the then president of the USA. Learnings from this innovation, led to ISRO
including Telemedicine as one of its major societal initiatives. On March 24th 2015, the
Indian Medical Association formally declared March 24th as IMA National Telemedicine