Objective="Improved communication links between state and districts."
Details for Reform Option "Better Communication via Satellite, Madhya Pradesh"
With a terrain as vast and difficult as in Madhya Pradesh, it is difficult to quickly and simultaneously reach out to the huge healthcare workforce and the community at large. Field functionaries in particular need to understand instructions and their job responsibilities, which cannot be communicated to them through the written word alone. Likewise, they too have useful feedback to provide.
Action:Initially, SATCOM, or SATellite COMmunication, was introduced in Madhya Pradesh to impart training via satellite on any programme, not just on public health, by distance learning mode.
The satellite communication node is established in Bhopal via Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Ahmedabad. A total of 44 dish antennas have been installed in the districts under European Commission’s Sector Investment Programme (SIP). These are linked to the SATCOM centre located in the Academy of Administration, Bhopal. The antennas at the districts have been installed at district training centres and in 3 Regional Family Welfare Training Centres. Fixed days and time slots are allocated to the departments by the State SATCOM Centres every month for undertaking communications with their target audiences. These include programme communication and feedback sharing on programme performance. The communications also help in clarifying doubts and misgivings with regard to specifications of the schemes.
This is a unique two-way communication, wherein the remotely located district personnel can see the State officials while listening to their presentations through television sets. With the help of STD telephone lines, questions can be put to the panel of presenters.
Adequate preparation for SATCOM sessions is required, both at the studio and at receiving stations.
Results:It is a good medium of communication between the state and district officials for monitoring the progress of programmes and for the purpose of training. The quality of reception at SATCOM centres is very good. Now this medium is being augmented by video-conferencing facility, whereby those in communication can see each other.
Encouraged by the effectiveness of this mass communication, the State Government initiated use of Video Conferencing System in 2005. The system is installed in the secretariat and affords two-way audio-visual communication with district teams. The video conferencing studio network is parallel to that of SATCOM affording an overall wider coverage.
INR.21 lakhs (2.1 million) have been spent so far on installation of dish antennas and TV sets (at the receiving points) from an approved European Commissions’ Sector Investment Programme allocation of INR.25 lakhs (2.5 million).
Madhya Pradesh, since 2001.
Interaction: Effective two-way communication between policy makers and programme mangers with field functionaries and community.
Quality: Enhances quality of programme communication.
People’s participation: Useful mechanism for obtaining direct feedback from people.
Mode of Communication: If presentations are not well planned or done in intense lecture mode, it fails to capture the attention of the people at the field.
Documentation: Process documentation and storage needs careful attention.
Preferences: Some people prefer video-conferencing to SATCOM.
Infrastructure cost: Capital cost is huge as it requires space, electricity and equipment to make this initiative operational.
Adequate preparation for SATCOM sessions is required, both at studio and at receiving stations. It is also necessary to document the process so that effective follow-up action may be taken.
Who needs to be consulted
Director, Public Health & Family Welfare
Joint Director, RCH & SIP.
Once established, it is self-sustaining if it is effectively used for planning, implementing and monitoring of the programmes.
Chances of Replication
Excellent, because of the efficacy enabled in programme communication.
It has become very popular with the State Government in disseminating policy and spreading the word regarding new programmes.
Sara Joseph, Research Consultant, ECTA. May 2006 &Dr. Nandini Roy, National Institute of Medical Statistics, July, 2006.