( December 15, 2020 )
Telemedicine has been gaining traction after the Government of India and the Medical Council of India released their new guidelines for the use of telemedicine during the Covid-19 pandemic.
by Santanu Mishra Co-Founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a harsh reality-check and has exposed the gaps of overall healthcare system across the world. The virus has shown the world that there is an urgent need for a paradigm shift in the provision of healthcare. Instead of a patient visiting a doctor, the need of the hour is to reach out to vulnerable sections of society. From March 2020 onwards, the healthcare system has focused on Covid-19 and all other health priorities have been put on the back burner. In India, marginalized groups such as pregnant women and women in general have been adversely impacted and civil society, self-help groups (SHGs), the development sector, and the central and state governments have struggled to managed the healthcare for vulnerable.
As of end October 2020 there were 7,305,070 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in India with 812,172 being active, and the cumulative death total was 111,311; making India the country with second highest number of Covid-19 cases in the world. The unlocking of the country has been done in five phases till date, and this along with the upcoming festive season has led to a spurt in the number of cases, thereby leading to an urgent need for testing at the grassroot level. To address the urgency at the grassroot level, the entire healthcare system is now focusing on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and containment of the Covid-19 infection. This is leading to the possibility of missing opportunities for the timely diagnosis and treatment of other diseases. Patients with mild and moderate complaints or diseases are encountering difficulties while seeking quality healthcare services, and are ending up with chronic conditions. The situation is even more critical in backward districts, which have minimal health services and limited means of conveyance to reach healthcare facilities.