There is nothing official about this. Some of the primary health centres in Tamil Nadu have taken to blogging about facilities at their health centres, riding on free blogging sites, in an effort to reach out to the people of their areas.

Though it is undocumented, it is likely that S.Venkatasubramanian, office superintendent of the Thogamalai PHC in Karur district, probably started off this whole chain of blogging, going only by the chronology. He started thogamalaiphc.blogspot.com in 2008 to do more than indulge a natural inclination to engage with the web. “Sometimes, there is a gap between the rules, and what happens at the field level; a gap between facilities available and patients' knowledge. A blog was a good way to address that, informally,” he says. And thus began an experiment. The blogger chose three specific purposes: inform patients of schemes and facilities, inform health staff of their benefits, and document the significant events in a PHC.

So among the listings on the blog are facilities available at the PHC, the various government schemes and how to access them, forms to be downloaded for the purpose. Also, the various donations and contributions received from the locals are listed, to ensure total transparency in dealings.

“I don't need to write every day, only when there is a reason to. Introduce a new scheme, or a staff member, or record a function that happened in the PHC limits,” Mr. Venkatasubramanian explains.

Subsequently, other PHCs have started their own blogs, including the Devikapuram PHC, Perungattur PHC, Kotappatti Tribal PHC and the Patients Welfare society of the Cheyyar Health District.

All of them list the facilities available at the centre, and provide awareness messages about camps and projects, some with pictures and videos of the various facilities. A few of them are meticulous about updating, while others do it whenever there is an occasion at the PHC.

Then, there is ruraldoctors.blogspot.com, another website started in 2008, this one by two doctors, Bruno Mascarenhas and Suresh Kumar. It serves as a glimpse into life at a PHC, chronicling the routine stories, regional outbreaks, projecting innovations and dishing out regular info, and also dipping into gossip, spicing up the whole mix with a little humour.