Bhubaneswar: In a move aimed at making healthcare services in Odisha more effective and more transparent, the state government has started an initiative to widen the use of social media by health institutions across the state.
While major health institutions such as medical colleges, big hospitals and blood banks have been directed to widen their use of social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, other such institutions are being asked to get linked to the social media.
The move, being spearheaded by health and family welfare minister Naba Kishore Das, is part of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s revamped governance framework in the ruling Biju Janata Dal’s (BJD) fifth consecutive term in power. CM’s constant stress on the ‘5Ts’ (Team Work, Technology, Transparency, Time Limit and Transformation) for successful pro-people governance has been behind the latest initiative, said officials.
“It is absolutely essential to link the health department to social media. Poor ordinary citizens in Odisha now will not have to make a telephone call to anyone for issues related to health services. They can use the social media to reach the department about whatever difficulties they face or the insufficiencies they notice,” said Das.
The minister clarified that the social media initiative is right now on a trial basis. “We are first linking major health institutions like medical colleges, big hospitals and blood banks to social media. Then the CHCs (community health centres) will be linked, followed by the PHCs (primary health centres),” he added.
“A mechanism has been evolved to ensure that social media is handled efficiently. The director has been advised to ask health institutions to entrust their social media work to an employee. In a month or two, wider use of social media by the health department will prove to be a beneficial practice for both the department and the people,” added Das.
In the past two years, a few government-run health institutions in Odisha began having a presence on the social media but they do not seem to have drawn as many people as the initiative was expected to do.
Srirama Chandra Bhanja Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH), the largest state-run hospital in the state located in Cuttack, joined both Facebook and Twitter in August 2017. The hospital’s Twitter handle currently has only 281 followers, and its Facebook page is liked by 1,391 people and followed by a further 1,435.
Similarly, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre (AHRCC) in Cuttack, a major institution of cancer treatment and research in eastern India, opened its Facebook page in May 2018 and a Twitter account in August 2018. Right now, it only has 24 followers on Twitter. On Facebook, it is liked by 270 people and followed by 272.
Although the Blood Safety Directorate in Odisha opened a Twitter account in June 2017, its Facebook page came up only last month (July 2019). It currently has 385 Twitter followers and its Facebook page is liked by 355 people and followed by 361.
Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar, the biggest peripheral hospital in Odisha with round-the-clock specialist services, opened both a Twitter account and a Facebook page last month. It currently has 52 Twitter followers. The hospitals Facebook page is liked by 82 people and followed by as many.