Provided is a link to a press release announcing a new telemedicine program launched this week in the village of Shirgaon, Maharashtra, India. The program is intended to help eliminate the problem with Filariasis and Lymphedema in the village (Filariasis is a parasitic disease that causes Lymphedema, or swelling due to a blockage of lymph vessels). With this new service, patients can get a general consultation for Rs. 30-50, or approximately $1 American, and/or special medical kits for Rs. 2000, or approximately $41 American.
The program was launched on Friday, so results will not be available for a while, but the intent is obviously a positive one. An immediate concern I think of is that of even the limited cost in such an region–even if one can afford a consultation, someone telling you that you’re sick when you cannot afford to do anything about it isn’t especially helpful. A more subtle problem is complications related to the disease at hand; part of the beauty of telemedicine is that the doctors can come to the patient, especially useful when the patients have mobility issues. Extreme lymphedema from filariasis can result in elephantiasis, and even with milder cases, movement can be limited. Getting to the center for treatment may be troublesome.
Original Post by Christina Murphy