DIMAPUR, JANUARY 6: Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today launched the 10-bed ICU wards across 12 district hospitals during a programme held at Capital Cultural Centre, Kohima.
Speaking at the launching of the 10-bed ICU Project, Rio extended his appreciation to the project partners and the Department of Health & Family Welfare for the completion of ICU facilities with tele-connectivity in 12 district hospitals.
He said the project was initiated during the second wave of COVID-19 when the State Government approached the eGovernment Foundation through Nachiket Mor on May 31, 2021 after which an MoU was signed with the eGov Foundation, Nirmaan Organisation, and Karuna Trust.
The Chief Minister said it was difficult to make ICU facilities operational in District Hospitals other than at Naga Hospital Authority Kohima and added that the project will innovatively address the shortage of specialist doctors through the Tele-ICU Hub at NHAK. He said that specialist doctors at NHAK will now be able to monitor and provide critical care remotely over a high-speed internet connection and using cameras. He added that without the physical presence of the specialist doctors and instead through their remote guidance, the trained healthcare staff at the district hospitals will be able to provide the ICU services.
He also said that the project has the potential to transform the provision of critical healthcare services in Government Hospitals in the State.
Rio called upon the medical doctors and nurses of the Health & Family Welfare Department to use the facilities optimally for better facilities for the people of Nagaland.
He also highlighted the commitment of the State Government to facilitating the people to achieve their fullest potential by providing improved education, healthcare, and core infrastructure.
While appreciating Nandan Nilekani and Srikanth Nadhamuni for their constant support and Vinod Khosla for funding the 10-bed ICU project and Tele ICU Hub, the Chief Minister encouraged them to use technology to meet the challenges of development and attracting investment in remote mountainous areas like Nagaland.
The Chief Minister also inaugurated the Tele ICU Hub at Naga Hospital Authority, Kohima during the day.
Srikanth Nadhamuni, Chairman, 10-bed ICU Org., expressing delight at working with the Government of Nagaland, stated that the pace at which the project has gone is incredible, with the organization working in 8 States, he said that Nagaland is the first State where it has launched 10-bed ICU in every District Hospital within one year.
He shared how the project started when he was working from home in Mysore during the Delta wave of COVID-19 that was sweeping across the country, he got a call from a friend asking for a ventilator for his aged mother which was followed by other similar requests. During this time, Dr. Sudharshan, who runs Karuna Trust, told him that the problem was not just in urban areas but also in rural areas which was spreading fast, and in small towns, there was a lack of ICU, which was when Srikanth decided to work on the project.
Srikanth stated that all districts have been covered and they will endeavor to launch it in the new districts as well. He explained that the first pillar is equipment to set up 10-bed ICU, which is state-of-the-art equipment with the ventilators being imported from Switzerland and having a 3-year warranty. The second pillar being the Tele-ICU at NHAK, which is connected to the District Hospitals so that all the Hospitals can have access to specialized services.
He further explained that Tele Hub at NHAK and District Hospitals is connected through cloud software and Google has offered its software to Nagaland for free for one year.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare, S Pangnyu Phom stated that with the help of the project, the State will be enhancing its critical care infrastructure. The Minister assured that all District Hospitals will be provided with high-speed internet connectivity to ensure that specialized services at NHAK are available in all the districts. He further stated that the 10-bed ICU project is not just a measure against COVID-19 but it is a long-term investment in the State’s overall critical healthcare delivery.
He also requested the eGov Foundation and the donors in setting up ICU facilities in the newly created districts as well as set up another Tele Hub at CIHSR, Dimapur.
Speaking at the launching programme virtually, Founder, Khosla Ventures, Vinod Khosla stated that the successful completion of the 10-bed ICU project with Tele ICU Hub in less than a year is a big achievement. He said the project is a precursor for better and cheaper healthcare. Khosla said that the only way for access to quality healthcare for the remote rural population is through the use of innovative technologies and standardized medical protocol.
Nandan Nilekani, Chairman, INFOSYS, addressing the launching programme virtually, stated that the project is a part of a long series of projects in India of creating Digital Public Goods, public goods for the society and the people using digital technology such as Aadhaar, DBT, UPI, etc. He added that technology used properly for the benefit of people is the only that we can drive an equitable and inclusive society where everyone has access to education, health, and career advancement.
Welcome address was delivered by Commissioner & Secretary, Health & Family Welfare, Y Kikheto Sema while Policy Lead & Program Coordinator, eGov Foundation, Bisoya Loitongbam proposed the vote of thanks. Technical sessions on various agendas were also conducted during the day.
The 10-bed ICU Project is an innovative Public Private Partnership project between the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Nagaland, and 10-bed ICU partner NGOs (eGov Foundation and Karuna Trust) led by eGov Foundation. The Project was launched in June 2021 as a response to the devastation caused by the COVID-19 second wave. The intervention has evolved from a relief project into a system-strengthening project. The Project tries to bridge the gaps in critical service delivery in India.
An MoU was signed on July 21, 2021, between the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Nagaland, and 10-bed ICU partner NGOs (eGov Foundation and Karuna Trust). The 10-bed ICU partner raises funds through donors in India and abroad to provide medical equipment, technology (software & hardware), and capacity building for medical and hospital staff. And the Government provides the physical infrastructure, human resources and other operational expenses to run the ICU units set up under the project.
To oversee the project, a Project Management Unit with senior bureaucrats, including the Home Commissioner and Health Secretary, and members from 10-bed NGO partners was constituted. In Nagaland, the Health Department also created a sub-committee consisting of senior officials from the Health Department to assist the PMU members and ensure speedy implementation.
HDFC Bank Parivartan funded the 10-bed ICU ward in Dimapur District Hospital, and Vinod Khosla supported the 10-bed ICU wards in all the other districts. Vinod Khosla also funded the Tele-ICU Hub. Karuna Trust and Nagaland Gandhi Ashram are the field NGO partners of the project in Nagaland. Hamilton Medical Switzerland also donated one ventilator for every two ventilators procured.
10-bed ICU is made possible by eGovernments Foundation’s CARE platform, a cloud-based open-source patient management tool, as well as smart capacity management software and patient management software. These form a Tele ICU module that runs on Google Cloud’s secure, scalable and reliable infrastructure and can be seamlessly accessed in real-time by medical professionals at the TeleICU hub at NHAK and the connected spoke hospitals.
The 10-bed ICU is being implemented in 8 SDtates, including Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Sikkim and Meghalaya. 200 ICU units have been set up across the project States. The Tele-ICU Hub and spoke model is showing promising signs of evolving into a transformational healthcare model, especially in resource constraints and remote locations.
(Page News Service)