When Bitoria, an 82-year-old woman, was diagnosed with diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid issues she obtained her initial medications from a hospital in Shillong.
However, when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, she was in a difficult situation as she lived in a small village called Sohrarim near Sohra.
Her grandchild, who sends the supply of medications 40 km away from Shillong, could not send the medicines as a lockdown was declared. Fortunately, she learned about the Gramin Polyclinic recently opened in her area.
“I was so relieved to hear that there was a clinic nearby that I could visit,” says Bitoria.
“It was a huge relief for my family, who were worried about my health, and me. This clinic is a great blessing, as it is more affordable and convenient than traveling to any hospital in Shillong. The clinic has been a huge benefit to me and my family, especially during the lockdown when everything was closed,” she added.
In collaboration with Gramin Healthcare, the Government of Meghalaya supports telemedicine clinics in underserved areas under the State’s Smart Village Movement initiative. This initiative helps Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s goal to provide last-mile access to quality healthcare in the State.
By collaborating with multiple stakeholders like private enterprises and NGOs, the Government of Meghalaya has successfully enhanced the health services throughout the State.
Sangma during his recent visit to the pilot clinic at Sohrarim had said, “This small intervention and with the use of technology, training the manpower, creating the process in a systematic way, we have been able to provide health services to people who would have to otherwise travel for hours and hours and spend a lot of money going to different centers to get the benefit. So this is a great benefit for the people of this area and we hope that we will be able to expand this to other parts of the state once this model is established properly out here based on the needs of our people.”
The first healthcare clinic was piloted through a joint effort between Gramin and the Smart Village Movement, Meghalaya, at Sohrarim in April 2021.
The services offered at this clinic include tele-consultation with doctors, diagnostic services, affordable medicine, and extensive outreach activities.
Initiated when the Covid pandemic was at its peak, this clinic came as a boon to the people living in remote areas like Sohrarim.
“Medicines were made available at the doorstep,” Bitoria recounted. “I just had to call the nurses at the clinic, and they would send the medicines through the delivery boy,” she added with a smile.
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