If you travel to even a mere 50 km outside some of the bustling metros, it is hard to miss the significant health disparities that exist between rural and urban areas, especially for women. While women residing in the metros have access to well-staffed, hi-tech hospitals, the healthcare scenario for them in rural areas is dismal.
The system is blighted by lack of access to healthcare facilities; there is perennial shortage of doctors and paramedic staff, and most women do not have access to the latest diagnostic equipment and medical treatment.
An ambitious initiative is under way in the tech-savvy, southern state of Andhra Pradesh to improve the healthcare system for women. The state government intends to make use of niche technologies such as cloud and data analytics solutions,for screening women above the age of 35 for non-communicable diseases. The programme, with technology support from Dell EMC, is being launched in more than 7,000 health sub-centres and would be used by 12,000 health workers to screen approximately nine million women in the next six months. The initiative is part of Mahila Master Health Checkup (MMHC) programme, which was inaugurated by chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu last month.
The state government has chosen Dell EMC as a technology partner that will provide the software solution for MMHC (Mahila Master Health Checkup) programme, consisting of a tablet app for the health workers. In addition, there will be web apps for the secondary level and tertiary level doctors, while there will be dashboards for the health officials. The entire solution will be run and managed by the state health department on the cloud infrastructure of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
MMHC is a progressive, innovative programme to screen and follow up on nine million women for seven non communicable diseases (NCDs)—oral, breast and cervical disorders, hypertension, diabetes, hormonal disorders and vision disorders.
Sarv Saravanan, senior vice president, Dell EMC, informs that the programme is designed in such a way that cases of probable NCDs are referred by health workers to designated hospitals for secondary screening, and a small number of those are referred further to select hospitals for tertiary screening. Using more advanced clinical procedures, the doctors will confirm the diagnosis where relevant and begin the necessary treatment.
“A programme like Mahila Master Health Checkup will surely improve women’s access to healthcare and reduce morbidity among them. Through this partnership, we would like to provide the advanced technology that would improve and support mobile healthcare that would expand the access to healthcare services in remote areas in Andhra Pradesh,” said Rajesh Janey, president—enterprise, India and SAARC, Dell EMC.
The focus on most health programmes for women is on maternal health, so women in the age group of 35 and above tend to get neglected. By targeting these women, the MMHC programme will ensure the well-being of all women.
Best of all, the MMHC programme is free of cost for all women in the target group. The added benefit is that it is a universal screening programme and health workers can proactively go out and ensure every woman is screened. Women who are referred for further diagnosis and treatment are also not charged for this.