As part of the central government's 'Act East' policy, the JIPMER-BIMSTEC Telemedicine Network (JBTN) is to be inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Heath and Family Welfare Faggan Singh Kulaste here on Thursday, said a JIPMER official.
Speaking to IANS over phone on Wednesday, the official said Ambassadors/ High Commissioners and high-level representatives from the BIMSTEC countries will be attending the event and will share their vision for JBTN.
All seven countries of BIMSTEC region will be linked by video conferencing during the event, a statement from Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research said.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South-East Asia namely Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal.
The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22 per cent of the global population.
According to JIPMER, various priority sectors of cooperation were identified among the BIMSTEC countries that includes health and technology.
"Some of the medical problems are peculiar to BIMSTEC countries and there is a great deal of disparity in quality and access to healthcare between urban and rural regions in these countries," JIPMER said.
Also, member countries of BIMSTEC face acute shortage of trained specialists in the district and peripheral health facilities.
Taking these factors into consideration the Director of JIPMER S.C. Parija took the initiative to utilise telemedicine services as it has immense potential to bridge the gap in healthcare delivery especially in landlocked countries and small island states where access to quality health care is a major hurdle.
The concept note for BIMSTEC Telemedicine Network prepared by the Director and the Telemedicine team of JIPMER was approved by the Ministry of External Affairs.
The JBTN was approved by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and supported by the National Knowledge Network.