With use of technology, innovation and a unique solution, Tele Health bridges the gap existing between isolated rural communities and effective healthcare. The project, a result of the collaboration between partnering entities ZANALA Bangladesh Ltd., ZANALA Systems Ltd., and Spreeha Bangladesh Foundation, has the objective of making healthcare accessible to every individual regardless of how far the location.
Problem worth solving
With a population of 156.6 million lives, Bangladesh faces the extreme challenge of providing basic healthcare to all people living in various regions of the country. While there is an overly-centralized healthcare system in urban areas due to the high concentration of government and private hospitals working in metro-cities, 65% of the population lives in rural areas and inefficient allocation of public healthcare resources is not enough to meet their needs. Healthcare is even more inaccessible for people living in remote areas especially indigenous communities who have to travel to cities in search of proper services.
The challenges preventing the provision of effective basic healthcare include:
– Geographical barriers leaving communities in remote areas inaccessible and thus resulting in fewer hospital establishments
– Lack of healthcare awareness leaving vulnerable communities at risk of preventable diseases
– Lack of affordable primary healthcare for lower income groups in remote areas
– Language and cultural barriers creating a communication gap between healthcare provider and patients
– Reluctance of experienced doctors to work in remote/rural health facilities for issues of safety and an unfamiliar environment
Tele Health aims to extend the reach of basic healthcare and awareness throughout the regions of the country. At the core, the project takes expert health consultation services (available mostly in urban areas) to the doorsteps of remote and isolated communities with technology and the project’s health officers. Doctors stationed in the capital, Dhaka, connect to patients via video using smart devices carried by the health officers who further facilitate the process by conducting tests and assisting with diagnosis. The service is brought directly to the patient who enjoys hassle free healthcare in return of an affordable fee. Health officers also play a role in empowering communities as they train local members to become future health officers themselves.
Tele Health is designed with a two part intervention:
– Healthcare awareness: Trained health officers go door to door to spread awareness in the communities and advocate the right health information to ensure individuals are well informed about the many healthcare needs.
– Healthcare access: Tele Health provides direct access to basic healthcare services as it allows members of remote areas to be consulted by expert doctors in a cost-effective and convenient manner. Health chambers designed by the project also allow patients with no internet access to consult with the doctors. With the support of technology, an individual is able to receive the service regardless of where he/she lives.