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Home > City Resources > Health and Medicine > Apollo Hospitals

800 km away from Hyderabad and 18 km north of Chittoor, is a tiny village called Aragonda. On March 26, the village shot to Aragonda, a remote villagefame when the President of the United States, Bill Clinton, visited it. How did this obscure Andhra village get on the itinerary of the visiting President ?

The credit for that goes to the Apollo group of hospitals. Aragonda is the birthplace of C. Prathap Reddy, founder of the group. Of course this can't be the reason for Bill Clinton's visit. He did so because in March this year, the Apollo group set up a Rs 10 crore, 50-bed multi speciality rural hospital and invested another Rs 17 lakhs to make it the country's first telemedicine centre.

Telemedicine is the transfer of medical information from a remote area to a qualified doctor through an electronic network. Thus pathological reports, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are transferred through cable across long distances. For instance, when eight year old Lakshmi of Aragonda village was brought to the newly set up hospital she had a severe pain in the right knee. The pediatrician at the hospital scanned Lakshmi's medical records and sent it digitally across to Apollo at Hyderabad. They wired back confirming the pediatrician's diagnosis. Thanks to the telemedicine centre Laksmi was spared the long travel to Hyderabad.

When President Clinton paid a visit, he witnessed the first telemedicine diagnosis between Aragonda and Apollo Hyderabad. Since then the hospital has carried out 100 surgeries after consulting doctors in Chennai and Hyderabad. This is indeed a miracle for a village whose nearest hospital until now was a single-doctor government clinic10 km away. Apollo's Sangeeta Reddy

For the group that provided the miracle, the telemedicine centre is part of a bigger programme called Apollo Healthstreet, which is the infotech wing of the group. Apollo Healthstreet is a joint venture with General Electric, British Aero Systems (a company which operates 200 telemedicine centres in Africa and Southeast Asia) and the Apollo group. With a corpus of Rs 10 crore, Apollo Healthstreet will focus on the states of Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

This is indeed a revolution in rural healthcare. And as Sangeeta Reddy, Manager of Apollostreet says: "Aragonda is just the beginning."
- Divya Unnikrishnan

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