Govt creates centralized IT platform for health safety of pilgrims

  • The ‘pilgrim monitoring system’ is to be linked to the Central government’s flagship digital health mission, Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission

Priyanka Sharma
First Published27 May 2024
This year, the Char Dham yatra commenced on 10 May.
This year, the Char Dham yatra commenced on 10 May. (HT_PRINT)

New Delhi: Pilgrims to Himalayan holy sites are set to be given protection from ailments associated with high altitudes and extreme cold, with the Centre and Uttarakhand government working on a technology ecosystem linked to the digital health mission—Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM).

Called the pilgrim monitoring system, it would create an Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) ID for all pilgrims to Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath—together called the Chardham—and make their health records digitally accessible to doctors in case of a health emergency.

Also read |  Amarnath Yatra to begin from June 29. Check details here

Additionally, the digital ecosystem will help identify morbidities in pilgrims so that doctors can take proactive health measures.

This year, there is a continuous surge in the number of pilgrims for Char Dham in Uttarakhand which commenced on 10 May. It is one of the biggest pilgrimages in India but mortality is high. About 29 pilgrims have died during the journey so far this year.

Delays in treatment

Most of the time, pilgrims are not in the condition to speak about their health conditions when they collapse during the yatra. Additionally, high altitudes can lead to delays in treatment.

Doctors say that many people fall sick due to low blood pressure, heart attack, altitude sickness, lack of oxygen and cold.

Also read |  Integrate health records of patients with ABHA: Health ministry

In order to streamline the pilgrimage, the Uttarakhand government has started a process of registration for Chardham Yatra in which an ABHA ID will be created for pilgrims.

“We will also be providing wearable IOT devices and GPS trackers to our pilgrims to identify morbidities, if any, at the earliest. To generate accurate and timely digital health records for our pilgrims, LEHS WISH (Wadhwani Initiative for Sustainable Healthcare), the flagship programme of Lords Education and Health Society (LEHS), an NGO which works for a mission to improve primary health care system through innovation and to make healthcare accessible to all, foundation is developing a centralized platform that would be ABDM-enabled so as to execute this vision of accurate and longitudinal health records,” stated an official from Uttarakhand government communicated to the National Health Authority (NHA), an attached office to the union ministry of health & family welfare.


Also read |  Travel firms, hotels see a demand surge on pilgrimage circuit

“In view of utilization of ABHA, Government of Uttarakhand may consider making it mandatory for all participants of the pilgrimage. ABHA will help in maintaining and accessing pilgrims' longitudinal health records digitally, during their journey,” said a communication from NHA to the Uttarakhand government reviewed by Mint.

Digitally managed

“E-Swasthya Dham programme has already been live with ABHA creation and verification functionalities while the process of integrating health records is ongoing," an official said.

ABHA ID, enables citizens to authenticate, access, and manage their health records digitally and facilitates hospital and doctor appointments, helping patients avoid long queues for registration at healthcare facilities. The unique digital health ID is a part of ABDM, being implemented by the NHA aims to create digital health ecosystem in the country.

Till last week, as per state government's figures, more than 967,000 pilgrims had been on the Char Dham pilgrimage. 

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