‘Swasthya Slate’ technology doing wonders for ANMs in J&K’s Poonch district


By Vishal Bharti


Jammu, Dec 22


Swasthya Slate technological invocation in the form of a compact machine, which is being used to carry out essential pregnancy tests, during the ante natal care of the pregnant women at the doorstep, is doing wonders for the ANMs and health workers appointed in various centres of Jammu region, particularly in bordering Poonch district, which is having a tough terrain, besides remote belts.

While the state of Jammu and Kashmir, bears the tough hilly terrain and make it virtually impossible to connect all the remote areas with a well-equipped health facility or a diagnostic lab but the device ‘Swasthya Slate’ — an introduction of Union Health Ministry and Family Welfare has come as blessing in disguise for the inhabitants of Poonch district as it is helping to connect the gap in the outreach, usually in the non-identification of the High-risk pregnancies in the state.

As per data till 2014 available with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, infant mortality Rate per 1000 live births was 39, under-five mortality Rate per 1000 live births was 43.

“Taking this fact into consideration, in 2015, Public Health Foundation of India, has launched the ‘Swasthya Slates’ in six districts of Jammu and Kashmir, in coordination with the state government,” an official said.

He said that Poonch is one of the districts in Jammu and Kashmir, where the ‘Swasthya Slate’ is operational with 148 kits in the district and one Field coordinator placed for the handholding technical support for the kits to the government frontline worker.

“The device has not only made easier for doctors to diagnose various diseases but it has brought relief to the ANMs and the health workers besides the patients, who were the worst sufferers at the time of visiting the hospitals for regular check-ups vis-?-vis the pregnant ladies,” added an official.

He said that the Health workers feels much more empowered than before, as they have the content, advices and technology to perform diagnostic tests.

“With the help of smart phone and tablet, which are a part of the devices, health workers are operating technology, which is usually perceived for urban literates only,” he said adding that their capacities were build, and have been trained over their role, on regular basis by the project team, which is usually a gap in the government system.

“The ANMs are now contributing to the maternal health, by performing critical tests on the pregnant women and thereafter counseling them accordingly as earlier they could only guess the problem through the patient’s symptoms and their experience, but now they can screen the High-risk mothers through Swasthya slate,” said the official.

“Tests like Haemoglobin, blood sugar, Blood Pressure etc can now be performed at the door step of the beneficiaries, for which earlier they had to travel to the PHCs or lab at the district level,” he added and said that the technology has saved time and money both for the beneficiaries.

‘Swasthya Slate’ technology is enabling ANMs to perform the tests of the pregnant mother, free of cost, at their doorstep, and provides instant test results and there is also an increase in the footfall of the mothers to their centers, he claimed.

Their sub-centres are preferred as compared to the others where the Swasthya slate is not present.

“The needy (poor) beneficiaries, get access to free test and they do not have to travel or walk, leaving their children unattended at home for hours and doesn’t have to spend money on transportation, doesn’t have to queue up in the government hospitals for test,” a health worker said.

She said that the tests now can be down at their homes, during immunisation days in their village or home visits. Another ANM said that they are not feeling less than specialised doctors with the introduction of ‘Swasthya Slate’ and their knowledge have increased.

“To Find out the accuracy of the results, using ‘Swasthya Slate’– a study was being conducted by comparing the device results with Jammu Medical College laboratory and all the results of blood pressure, blood sugar, haemoglobin showed a variation of only 10 to 15 percent, which is acceptable international norm, using this technology,” asserted an official.

He however, said that during an interaction with the ANMs, they have sought some changes in the device, which can further be rectified for their better tomorrow and health of the beneficiaries. (UNI)

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