Punnagai project spreads its wings to five remote habitations at Bargur hills of Erode

As part of the plan to introduce the Punnagai project in 45 habitations in Erode district, it is now being implemented in five habitations in the first phase

September 08, 2022 11:49 am | Updated 07:06 pm IST - ERODE

A doctor from a Primary Health Centre provides tele-medicine consultation service to the people of Kathirimalai tribal hamlet in Erode district.

A doctor from a Primary Health Centre provides tele-medicine consultation service to the people of Kathirimalai tribal hamlet in Erode district. | Photo Credit: M. Govarthan

Following the successful implementation of the project, Punnagai (smile), that provides tele-education and tele-medicine facility to children and people of Kathirimalai tribal hamlet, the district administration has expanded it to five other remote habitations in Bargur panchayat in Anthiyur block.

Collector H. Krishnanunni told The Hindu that technology has reached Kathirimalai, which is the most remote area in the district and is benefiting the community in the hamlet.

Under the project, a doctor from the nearest Primary Health Centre (PHC) provides tele-consultation and prescribes medicines to patients. A trained staff at the centre, in turn, distributes the prescribed medicines to the patient after confirming the medicines with the doctor. All these five habitations lack healthcare facilities and network connectivity and people have to travel a minimum of 25 km to 40 km to consult a doctor.

“After its success, we have planned to introduce the project in 45 habitations in the district and in the first phase we are implementing it in five habitations”, he said. The project is being implemented at Madam, Kalvarai, Bejalatti, Pethampalayam and Devarmalai, all in Bargur hills. “During his recent visit to the district, the Chief Minister had laid the foundation for the project,” the Collector added.

The ₹30 lakh project is being implemented by the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) with the technical support of Centre for Social Computing (C4S) that had supported the project at Kathirimalai.

Roshy K. Falgunan, Managing Partner, C4S, said that currently, work is on to establish a long-range Wi-Fi network, create the required infrastructure at the five locations in the hilly area. “In a week’s time, we will train five local persons to allow them to connect patients with doctors, check vital parameters of the patients and handle medicines,” he added.

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