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Issue dated - 1st December 2003

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Front Page > India Computes! > Story Print this Page|  Email this page

Jiva’s TeleDoc uses IT for rural healthcare

Frederick Noronha explains how the award-winning TeleDoc project of the Jiva Institute has helped in dispensing medical attention to rural areas with the help of modern technology and communication tools

JIVA.ORG network’s TeleDoc project has just won the World Summit Award. Jiva Institute is a non-profit organisation that fosters sustainable development in India using technology innovations to improve education, health and entrepreneurship. Jiva says its projects “are designed as sustainable social enterprises.”

Jiva’s TeleDoc (www.jiva.org/teledoc) project has been announced the winner of the World Summit Award for eHealth at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) conference (www.itu.int/wsis/), to be held in Geneva in December, 2003. The World Summit Award is given to the most creative application of technology in each of eight areas: e-commerce, e-learning, e-health, e-government, e-business, and e-entertainment.

Teledoc, seeking to use Java-enabled mobile telephones and the GPRS data network to deliver traditional healthcare to India’s rural poor, was competing against nominees from 148 developing and developed nations. TeleDoc is funded in part by a grant from the Soros Foundation.

Recently, the Government of Switzerland funded Jiva Institute to present its TeleDoc project to the Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) Platform, which will be held in conjunction with the WSIS conference.

The TeleDoc Mobile Information System (MIS) uses off-the-shelf technologies and private-sector mobile-telephone networks to connect village field representatives and Jiva doctors to a central database, where they exchange prescription and treatment information. At ICT4D, Jiva is expected to share information about the TeleDoc MIS with development organisations, governments, and multi-national institutions.

Meanwhile, Jiva has also announced that Jammu and Kashmir has adopted India’s Curriculum of Tomorrow (ICOT) textbooks (www.jiva.org/ICOT), developed by its institute, for use in 8,000 state schools and 5,00,000 students.

Says a Jiva executive: “Jammu and Kashmir will publish Jiva’s science, social studies, and computer literacy books for use in the 2004-2006 school years. Jiva makes its ICOT content available to Ministry of Education on a royalty-free basis, and provides teacher training and assistance with localisation to ensure that Jiva’s curricula, supporting active learning, problem solving, and creativity, provide maximum benefits to young learners.” Its books for computer education have attracted attention as innovatively worked out, and impressively done.

Moving beyond borders, Jiva is also to develop IT training for teachers in Bhutan. It has recently been hired by the Royal Government of Bhutan to write tech support and IT training curricula for Bhutanese schools.

On this project, Jiva is partnering with Healing the Divide (www.healingthedivide.org), a New York-based non-profit outfit that supports technological solutions in Asia. The project is funded by Healing the Divide and the Royal Government of Bhutan. Jiva Institute is itself a non-profit organisation that “fosters sustainable development using technological innovation to improve education and health practices.” It says it works to “implement and support” social-enterprise projects, in which programmes are income-earning and eventually become self-supporting.

India’s Curriculum of Tomorrow (ICOT) is their education initiative “to provide high-quality textbooks to schools throughout India, regardless of financial standing.” Their website is at www.jiva.org.

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