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Bangalore to host three-day meet

By Our Staff Reporter

BANGALORE, FEB. 26. The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is holding an international telemedicine conference here from March 17 to 19 to raise awareness about the system's advantages. Over 500 delegates from around the world are expected to take part in it.

Reaching out

Telemedicine has really helped bring medical attention to people in remote and rural areas. Post-tsunami, it has helped save the lives of thousands of people in Port Blair, said G. Madhavan Nair, Chairman of ISRO, at a press conference here today. "It is a very effective delivery of specialist treatment."

As many as 15,000 patients in Chamarajanagar district hospital had received medical attention with the help of this facility out of one lakh people benefited under the telemedicine project, he said.

A telemedicine system integrates communication and information and medical technology. ISRO has connected 100 hospitals, including 22 super-specialty hospitals. He said all the districts hospitals in Karnataka will also be linked to the telemedicine facility shortly. To a question, Mr. Nair revealed that district hospitals in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan have expressed interest in linking up with this facility.

Mr. Nair said ISRO had agreed to install a system connecting Kabul to the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. "We are working out the logistics of developing links within Iraq."

Cost-effective models

Apart from this, ISRO is also working out several models to make telemedicine a more cost-effective system. At present, the equipment for transmitting data to and from the satellites is being provided by ISRO, and only the maintenance cost is being born by the hospitals. The organisation is looking to utilise Village Resource Centres as a facility for telemedicine, he said. "This has already been tried once and was very successful," said Mr. Nair. A commercial model is being developed.

"Telemedicine is catching on like wildfire now. It is a very effective system," he said. Over 70 invited lectures will be presented at the conference.

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