Swasthya Slate developed by Dr Kanav Kahol of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) is able to carrying out 33 different tests and give instant results.
Dr Kanav Kahol believes India is the greatest place to be an engineer.
Picture this – you are unwell and your doctor orders you to get a battery of tests done. You spend the next few days going to different labs and then few more days waiting for the results. Once again you are back to the doctor for a diagnosis. Now, here is a kit that lets you do around 33 different kinds of tests at one go, ranging from haemoglobin test to ECG and gives you the result instantly?Delivering healthcare to millionsSwastya Slate is a health device that uses technology to deliver healthcare solution to millions across India. The mobile device that costs Rs. 15,000 at present has empowered thousands of primary healthcare workers to give patients instant results, cutting down on both costs and time taken. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Dr Kanav Kahol, 36, of the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) who developed the device says, “We wanted to develop a technology that will work in rural areas and provide care that is on par or better than high-quality clinics in places like Mumbai and Paris.” Apart from several Indian states like Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh, the kit is also used by healthcare workers in Nigeria, Singapore, Norway, Canada and UK.Involving the largest healthcare providerThe initiative has helped government, private players and several NGOs reach out to a large part of rural India.”Government has a huge role to play as it is the largest healthcare provider. They have done a fabulous job and set up centres in remote places where you think nothing could have been built. But there is a need to empower those running the centres,” says Kahol who feels that one of the ways to meet targets could be to encourage more Public Private Partnership models (PPP). He cautions that quality and regulation must go hand in hand.But what about the danger of equipping a primary healthcare worker with too much responsibility where doctors are short and no monitoring mechanism is in place? Dr Kahol insists that PHFI ensures that those hired are certified and trained but does concede that there are risks and they are trying to deal with them. One of the things he did was to keep ultrasound out of the kit as, in his own words, the results could be “disastrous” in the Indian context.’Need for a dialogue with healthcare workers’The problem with research in healthcare technology is not the lack of desire but with engineers not knowing which problem to solve, and acting like “misguided missiles”, feels Dr Kohol. He adds, “A lot of products coming out of IITs are waste because there are legal issues involved. There is a policy framework in place.” He stresses on the need to understand the ground issues and finding a solution to them for which a continuous dialogue is needed.And what brought the Ph.D. from Arizona State University who was working under a Nobel Prize winner back to India? “Delhi Chaat,” he quips and also because he believes “India is the greatest place to be an engineer.””I was already in a system that seemed like the best. I did not want to focus on just the top 2% of the population,” he signs off.(Dr Kanav Kahol will be speaking at the TEDxGateway, Mumbai, on December 5, 2015 at NCPA)
This article was originally published on iamin.in. For more such hyperlocal stories, visit their website.