Roundup: Thailand issues free digital vax pass, Andhra Pradesh distributes smartphones for telemedicine, and more briefs

Thailand issues free digital vax pass for vaccinated individuals

Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health has announced that it is issuing free digital vaccine passports to all vaccinated persons in the country until end-March. 

The government has been charging 50 baht for either print or digital versions of the vaccine passport since it was launched in October.

Both local and foreign residents who have been inoculated in the country can register for the free-of-charge e-Vaccine Passport on the Mor Prom app, the government’s vaccination services app. 

On the app, users can click on the “international certificate” tab where they can request a vaccination pass. A QR code will be issued within three working days. 

A 13-digit number is required to register on the Mor Prom app. For the locals, it is their Thai ID number; for non-Thai nationals, the number is given after their second COVID-19 vaccine dose.

Thailand is the second Southeast Asian country to get its digital vaccine passport recognised by the European Union. Its Mor Prom-issued digital health pass has been certified as an equivalent to the EU Digital COVID-19 Clearance Certificate, allowing it to be used for travel to and within the 27 EU member states and 30 more countries that recognise the EU pass. 

Smartphones distributed to health workers in Andhra Pradesh to facilitate telemedicine

The Andhra Pradesh government in India has issued about 42,000 smartphones to community health workers in the state to facilitate telemedicine services amid a new COVID-19 outbreak.

The state government is anticipating cases to rise following the gatherings for Sankranthi. 

Aside from distributing smartphones, Appa Rao, state programme manager for National Health Mission and Telemedicine, said community health workers have been given special training on telehealth.

Andhra Pradesh has also set up 14 telemedicine hubs, adding to the 13 existing facilities. 

Any citizen can take on the state’s telemedicine services with assistance from community health workers. The free service not only caters to COVID-19 patients but also to patients with other pressing conditions, a news report noted.

Telemedicine services activated across India amid third COVID-19 wave 

Some state governments in India have activated telemedicine services in the midst of an ongoing third wave of COVID-19 infections across the country.

For one, the Odisha government has mobilised telemedicine providers to provide medical assistance to non-COVID patients amid the current surge of cases. “Taking the situation into account, it has been decided to use telemedicine centres effectively and proactively established in medical colleges and other hospitals,” it said. 

The service has been opened at SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur, VIMSAR in Burla, and Acharya Harihar Post Graduate Institute of Cancer and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics also in Cuttack.

Four new medical colleges and hospitals in Balasore, Baripada, Bolangir and Koraput, along with Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela General Hospital, are also offering telemedicine services.

Meanwhile, the public medical university All India Institute Of Medical Science (AIIMS) in Bilaspur has signed a memorandum of understanding with the district administration of ​​Lahaul And Spiti in Himachal Pradesh to deliver an integrated telemedicine platform.

AIIMS will set up special health camps in the tribal district where healthcare access is hindered by geographical and climatic challenges. 

According to a news report, its technology will allow experts to monitor patients’ conditions in real-time. 

Additionally, the university, together with the Indian Council of Medical Research in Chandigarh, will conduct research on diseases occurring in the high-altitude region.

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