EHS-COVID (416) Digital technologies (5) Telemedicine supported strengthening of primary care in WHO South East Asia region (2)

20 June, 2021

Dear HIFA members,

I agree that telemedicine has potential to transform the healthcare systems. The strategic pathways usually start from policy making to implementation, monitoring, feedback mechanism and evidence generation. This is a long process and usually takes decades to derive benefits from health investment.

For telemedicine, two way communication is the key. Both the healthcare provider and user must be aware of how to use it. There are many mobile applications cropped up during the pandemic providing doctor patient consultation. But, availability is for those who have a smartphone with internet connectivity means who already have access to technology and just take one more step to reach out to the healthcare system.

The gap between the existing healthcare system and those who don't have access to technology is the real challenge. It is availability of stable internet connection in a particular geography (mobile network companies and telecom department are stakeholders), availability of electricity (state electricity department is stakeholder) and the most important aspect is the population power (budget) to buy the smartphone and eagerness to use and learn new things.

It's more than just a complex phenomena.

Best regards,

Dr. Sanchika Gupta

(Pronoun: She/Her/Hers)

HIFA Global CR Coordinator

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HIFA profile: Dr Sanchika Gupta is an Indian healthcare specialist with eight years of experience as both clinician and public health programmer. She explored wide breadth of public health realm viz. family planning/reproductive health, maternal, adolescent and child health during her association with national and international NGOs namely INCLEN, MAMTA, Jhpiego and Pathfinder International. She acquired technical expertise in advocacy, program management, research, monitoring and evaluation throughout her fieldwork in eight Indian states (Assam, Bihar, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh). She is the nominee of ‘120 under 40: the new generation of family planning leaders’ in 2019. In the recent years, she has been associated with HIFA through its Social Media Working Group and EHS-COVID19 project. In 2021, HIFA nominated her as Global Country Representative Coordinator. Currently, she is based in New Delhi, India and is available on email id or Twitter @sanchika_gupta.