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Telemedicine in Bangladesh: Bringing Equity Among Citizen 
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Telemedicine in Bangladesh: Bringing Equity Among Citizen  

T
elemedicine has brought a significant initiative to overcome the difficulties of providing equal health care services, especially to the people who are living in a remote or rural area in a developing country like Bangladesh.

Telemedicine in Bangladesh is adding a positive hope to our telecommunication and internet service of the whole country.  They have a telemedicine centre in the various place in bangladesh.

However, modern health facilities and necessary medical equipment are not that much available in rural areas and this process is very beneficial for unprivileged people. In Bangladesh, we have more than 162 million population, which is huge for a country having 148,460 square km landmass.

In this densely-populated country, 77% of people live in remote areas where it is not possible to provide adequate health care services. Though it is a light of hope that in the past decade, Bangladesh has made excellent progress in the health care sector. Bangladesh makes it possible to reduce the child mortality rate in a significant way and also able to increase the immunization of life expectancy.

Here, we are going to brief some amazing facts of telemedicine in Bangladesh, which will enrich your knowledge about this entire service.

 

Primary Stage of Telemedicine

Telemedicine service Bangladesh started the journey in 1999. At that time, a charitable trust, “swinfen charitable” established a telemedicine link first. After that, every year, it has taken so many substantial actions to enrich the healthcare service for every person whom we can’t reach easily. 

At first, our government introduced a PC based cheap cost diagnostic equipment and software-based health care service in different districts of Bangladesh. Most of these services are frequently provided from the local pharmacies, which is considered as the first place for taking initial health care advice in rural areas. 

Moreover, these whole processes are inspected by volunteers every week. Telemedicine became very famous, especially to women, senior, disabled citizens who barely travel for healthcare due to high cost and distance. So, it is obvious that telemedicine made a bridge between doctors and patients all over the country.

Current Healthcare Service of Bangladesh

It is a very woeful situation that for every 10,000 citizens, we only have 6 doctors to supply proper service. So, it is very challenging for the doctors also to reach their patients and give them an appropriate service. For this shortage of doctors, people also find it hard to get an appointment for them when it is necessary.

Here we are showing a distributional estimate of doctors who are working all over the country.

 

Distributional estimate of doctors who are working all over the country
Fig: Distributional estimate of doctors who are working all over the country

From this estimate, we can see that there are 43% more doctors in Dhaka city, where all other divisions do not have sufficient doctors as per their vacancies. So, the healthcare service is more capital based in our country, which should be fixed.

Players in the Space of Telemedicine

Telemedicine service in Bangladesh is now a popular method of getting medical facility anytime, anywhere. There are various telemedicine apps in Bangladesh which are providing excellent service at all. People can get their necessary facilities now by a fingertip. Free telemedicine Bangladesh is currently a hot topic because many of these apps are providing free advice to the users.

Here is the comparison of health tech startups up to May 2020.

Comparison of health tech startups up to May 2020
Fig: Comparison of health tech startups up to May 2020

So here, we are seeing 6 Telemedicine Bangladesh apps, which are providing their service online. Among all health-tech startups Doctor la, Praava Health, Maya, Bangla meds, Digital Health and Owel are giving the best online services, so they are gaining popularity shortly. On the other hand, we know pulse telemedicine Bangladesh which is the first virtual platform and application offering us 24/7 consultation with doctors.

Moreover, these organizations are supplying free telemedicine in Bangladesh in a primary stage of consultation and also establishing their reliable service among us. Although their communication and reaching levels are limited, If other entrepreneurs take the initiative following them, it will bring a whole new era for online telemedicine Bangladesh.

Scope of Telemedicine

Telemedicine doctors in Bangladesh are treating their patients who are from a remote area using telecommunication technology. The good news is that for this process, many people get medical advice without cost and this is time-consuming also. 

However, for these reasons the telemedicine market has been overgrowing all over the world for the past 5 years. From research, telemedicine will achieve more than 15.1% future growth rate up to 2027. Here we are giving the “compound annual growth rate” of telemedicine below.

 

Compound annual growth rate of telemedicine
Fig: Compound annual growth rate of telemedicine

 

So, here we can see the future growth of telecommunication, which is going to be massive. In Bangladesh, this process will expand the scope of healthcare, and many people can be benefited from this service.

Telemedicine Service in the Time of COVID-19

High quality based telemedicine service has been provided by some hospitals all over the country. Since when COVID-19 came to Bangladesh, our health ministry launched 24 hours of telemedicine service for COVID-19 patients. Three doctors associations of our country have taken this initiative and these associations are Bangladesh Medical Association (BMA) , Bangladesh college of physicians and Surgeons (BCPS),Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad (SWACHIP).

However, they have been providing this service since September. Now corona telemedicine in Bangladesh is in a good stage, and patients can easily contact doctors at any time.

Our health minister Zahid Maleque has introduced this initiative through video conferences and appreciates these associations, which has set a great example.

Moreover, corona patients can take 24 hours of telemedicine service using a cellphone and the phone numbers are 01313791130, 01313791138, 01313791139. Recently, we can also take advice and even can register for the corona sample test via an online site.

Upcoming Situation of Telemedicine in Bangladesh

As time is moving forward, the future of telemedicine really has optimistic hope. Because it can reach all the patients who are in need of medical service and sometimes it even saves some people’s life too. There are many telemedicine centers in Bangladesh providing service all day and night.

We have some stimuli, which is the reason for the future growth of telemedicine services in Bangladesh. And they are- 

Growth of Internet Users

In the present time, the internet and smartphone reach all over the country and it increases the accessible rate for both service providers and users. Which eventually made the entire ecosystem better.

 

Growth of Internet Users
Fig: Growth of Internet Users

It shows that the internet user’s rate is growing high daily. In 2012 there were 30.5 million users and in 2018 that means after 6 years, it reached 87.7 million.

Growth of Mobile Phone Users

On our regular day, we can’t think of our lifestyle without using a mobile phone. Even all the people who live in rural areas also use it. That’s why telecommunication service is growing significantly over time.

Nowadays it has made mobile phone service more convenient and cheaper. With this huge number of users, telecommunication has the opportunity to expand their business in the current environment. 

 

Growth of Mobile Phone Users
Fig: Growth of Mobile Phone Users

So the number of people who are using a mobile phone is increasing from 2016 in Bangladesh. Recently, many startups are also growing at a fast speed. It is crystal clear that these startups will rule the upcoming situation very soon.

Moreover, our government also introduced us with pulse telemedicine Bangladesh which is the first virtual platform and application, which is offering us 24/7 consultation with doctors.

Final Words……

These are all about telemedicine in Bangladesh. Telemedicine is an effective way to get health care over the phone and online. It reduces the rate of time and costs significantly for their users. A large number of attendees confessed that they get their required health service properly within an hour.

However, Telemedicine Dhaka is also doing their job very greatly. Many private Hospitals and health organizations from Dhaka and other districts are trying to provide service of their own. In this time of COVID-19, telemedicine is playing a substantial role in humanity.

 

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