Telemedicine

Grantee: Health Department District Sheikhupura

Project Description:

The TeleMedicine Solution project aimed at filling the gap of a doctor at remote Basic Health Unit (BHU) by equipping the BHU with key diagnostic facilities and connectivity with a remote doctor. The pilot was implemented by District Government of Sheikhupura in partnership with a US based technology provider J&B Medicals. The experiment tested the use of Tele-diagnosis equipment that can conduct 17 primary tests simply by the touch of a strobe. Available paramedics or LHWs at basic health units were trained to use the equipment. The equipment had a capacity of being solar powered and worked on simple GPRS to connect to a consultant sitting at a senior district hospital. The results of the tests were immediately sent to the consultant and patient could engage with the consultant in real time over video connectivity. The system also had the capacity to centrally store the patient data that could be used to predict disease pattering which can generate evidence to inform planning and budgeting for staff and medicines. The equipment was capable of conducting almost all initial gynecology tests, including ANC scans. This experiment was a unique example where the government itself is the grantee, which ensured full ownership and sustainability.

Beneficiaries:

The experiment was carried out in the District of Sheikhupura and benefitted 82,000 patients.

Results:

The key impact has been an increase in ANC follow-up from 15% to 60% and inflow of patients to BHU that have increased by more than 50%. Survey results showed that this service was successful in decreasing the inflow of patients at senior hospitals as they were getting good quality treatment at BHU level.

Adoption & Scale-up:

The pilot gained a lot of traction from various stakeholders, including donors, district government and provincial government counterparts. The Chief Minister has taken a policy decision that he intends to have Tele-medicine facilities across the province, especially the BHUs where despite all efforts government has failed to place credible doctors. Several meetings have been held with PITB and learnings have been shared. PITB is not testing only one of the component of the
technology (audio video) in 5 districts to further pilot and test its effectiveness. Moreover, a low cost version has been installed by PRSP in Vehari based on the experiences shared by SNG in Sheikhupura. PRSP has replicated some components of the project in district Vehari. Moreover, district Hafizabad would be implementing full scale telemedicine.