Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala has become the first State to initiate tele-health projects which link its 23 major hospitals, including six Government Medical College Hospitals and two super specialty referral centres, via satellite and ISDN line so that even people in far-flung areas can access specialty care.

Two major tele-medicine projects - one, a joint venture by the India Space Research Organisation and the State Government, and the second a project of the Union Department of Information Technology, being implemented by the C-DAC - were launched by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan here on Friday.

Inaugurating the project, the Chief Minister said the advantages of modern science and information technology in health care should benefit the poor in the State.

Kerala had the facilities and the necessary expertise required to make the best health care options available in metros accessible to villages through tele medicine, he said. The Government was committed to reviving the public health system in the State. All primary and community health centres and sub-centres in the State were being upgraded. Hospitals for women and children would be started in every district. The Government would implement a health insurance scheme for the poor in collaboration with the general insurance companies in the public sector, he said.