Kerala

Govt. may have compromised health surveillance info: Chennithala

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala on Friday flagged the possibility that State government might have secretly compromised the personal medical information of thousands of persons under surveillance for COVID-19 to aid favoured players in the highly competitive private health care and pharmaceutical sector profit from the vital data.

The government had contracted a U.S.-based company, Sprinklr, to collate the personal health data collected by field-level workers from nearly 1.75 lakh people categorised as “vulnerable and potentially exposed” to the epidemic.

Tender process

He alleged that the IT department, headed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, had by-passed the tender process to award the deal to Sprinklr.

The government had procured a health-care worker mobile application from the firm using disaster management funds to input the details of persons under surveillance. The company had stored the electronic medical records in a private domain far beyond the country’s legal jurisdiction.

IT Secretary M. Shivsankar had appeared in the firm’s advertisement film.

The company, run by a non-resident Keralite (NoRK), had also used the coat of arms of the Kerala government, its vast army of public health workers and critical IT department infrastructure to promote its application globally.

Information privacy

Mr. Chennithala said health information privacy was central to any society.

Pharmaceutical majors, big players in the health-care business and private research and development firms would pay a fortune for the public health data now in possession of Sprinklr.

The company could sell the information to the highest bidder without the consent or knowledge of citizens health workers had surveiled as part of the government’s epidemic containment strategy.

The deal appeared murky, said Mr. Chennithala and he demanded an anti-corruption enquiry. Mr. Shivsankar told The Hindu that the government was calibrating its response to the allegations. “The IT department would state facts at the earliest,” he said.


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Printable version | Dec 4, 2021 8:39:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/govt-may-have-compromised-health-surveillance-info-chennithala/article31311440.ece

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