Public Health Center Archives


Village Health Nurses (VHN) are the last-mile health workers attending to the primary health care needs of the rural villagers in the state of Tamil Nadu; where the real-time biosruveillance program (RTBP) is being pilot tested in India. They work under harsh conditions. For instance transportation schedule is limited to a bus that leaves in the morning and returns in the afternoon. Baking and sweating in the hot sun in Sivaganga District of Tamil Nadu, they walk for several kilometers, carrying a heavy load of Registers, making house calls to give the much needed health care to the rural poor. During a recent workshop, in Tamil Nadu, a discussion around the accountability of submitting data revealed that the VHN sometimes cheat on the statistics they tediously record on large volumes of paper forms.
As a trial the State of Tamil Nadu, in India, is piloting the use of mobile phones with Village Health Nurses (VHN) to talk with the Deputy Director of Health Service (DDHS) and Public Health Center (PHC) staff as and when they need. Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (IITM) will add on a m-Health Survey application to add value to the mobile phones for the VHN to share patient disease and syndrome information. Besides digitizing health records, the VHN are eager to learn other communcation features such as SMS, WWW (GPRS), and Email. Team of Researchers from IITM’s Rural Technology and Buisness Incubator (RTBI) visited with the Thirupathur Block VHNs to outline the Real-Time Biosurveillance Program, a pilot project carried out in India and Sri Lanka. The meeting is documented in the “IITM VHN meeting report“.