Smile Foundation, Australian High Commission & Karma Healthcare Come Together to Launch Project Navkiran in Bhilwara, Rajasthan

Initiative to provide access to quality & affordable healthcare through digital technology

02 August 2019, Bhilwara/Jaipur: e-Doctor clinic, a pioneering initiative that brings quality healthcare to the doorsteps of underserved communities through outreach and deployment of digital technology,was launched today in Gangapur Block, Bhilwara, Rajasthan.

A joint initiative of Smile Foundation and Karma Healthcare, supported by the Australian Government, the e-Doctor Clinic will work through a combination of community outreach and low-cost primary healthcare services provided by qualified medical staff.

The project seeks to address the gap that exists in the healthcare infrastructure and unmet need by addressing health-seeking behavior, ensuring affordability, and accessibilityto qualified doctors.

For making healthcare affordable, available and accessible, Smile Foundation and Karma Healthcare have been working for over four months to set up clinics in remote areas, awareness outreach, and technology optimization. The ‘hub and spoke approach’ enables communities to access a range of primary healthcare services using video conferencing from remote clinicstoconnect with well-equipped central clinic with doctors.

The formal launch event was graced by Dr Timothy Kendall, Economic Counsellor, Australian High Commission; Ms Rekha Chandel, Chairman- Municipal Corporation, Gangapur, Bhilwara; Dr M L Jain, MD Community Medicine Rtd. Director of Medical Health Services (RCH/SIHFW) and Mr. Subroto Roy, Director Programme & Programme Development, Smile Foundation.

Speaking on the occasion Mr Kendall said: “The Australian Government is pleased to support Smile Foundation and Karma Healthcare in this initiative to improve access to quality and affordable primary healthcare for communities in rural Rajasthan.”

“Access to quality and affordable healthcare is ‘a make or break situation’ for poor communities. This will not just give these populations access to quality healthcare but will also go a long way in reducing their out of pocket expenses,” said Santanu Mishra, Co-founder, and Executive Trustee, Smile Foundation.

“I believe this model can provide healthcare services at scale in a cost-efficient manner. This will allow us to take major strides towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 3 related good health and well-being for all,” said Dr. M L Jain.

Karma Healthcare is a novel and highly relevant proposition which harnesses digital connectivity to provide affordable quality healthcare to rural and semi-urban India.

Notes for the editor:

Smile Foundation is a national level development organization established with a mission to empower underprivileged children, youth and women. Smile is directly benefitting over 600,000 children and their families every year, through more than 250 live welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood and women empowerment, in over 950 remote villages and slums across 25 states of India. Smile’s healthcare programme focuses on preventive, promotive, basic curative and referrals through its mobile hospitals and health camps. The approach is to take healthcare to communities that have problem of access to basic health care because of the nature of occupation, overloaded government healthcare system and expensive private healthcare.

Karma Healthcare is a novel and highly relevant proposition which harnesses digital connectivity to provide affordable quality healthcare to rural and semi-urban India. Karma’s “assisted e-health” business model juxtaposes low delivery cost and human touch – such that the combination of these two elements engenders a high efficacy, sustainable rural healthcare play via a pan India network of healthcare centers over time. The organization operates ‘e-Doctor’ clinics providing nurse-assisted online medical consultations by qualified doctors, diagnostic services and referral services to secondary/ tertiary care.

Project Navkiran has been supported through the Business Partnerships Platform (BPP), an initiative of the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The BPP has been established as part of Australia’s aid program to engage with the private sector. The platform partners businesses with DFAT to deliver both social and commercial returns. It also allows DFAT to contribute to community-level impact, adding new dimensions to the Australia–India relationship.


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