The Department of Health, Kerala, in their Face Book page dated 24th January 2013, announced that they won a grant for total automation of the department. There was no mention of the amount involved or what specific uses the amount of this grant was ordered to be put into, as if it is their private pleasure and right to hide specific information from people and use this grant at their will. First we shall read here their own article from their Face Book. Do not mind the language and grammar, for it represents only the person going to benefit most from this ‘grant’.
Then we shall look into the Face Book Set Up of this department to see how current, updated and sophisticated they are to receive such India Government grants for total automation. To tell the truth, they do not qualify for it. A screen shot of their page on April 05, 2014 denotes that they are 8 months back in digital updatedness and that they are not skilled and resourceful enough to control such elaborate e-health governance for an entire state, unless they outsource everything which is what they really wish to do. If they outsource it as is evidenced from this article, it is illegal and against the interests of the people. It seems this is going to become a sequel to the ill famous solar scam, involving perhaps the same kind of people. The government is quite unwilling to disclose the names of the people who ‘expressed their interest’ to participate in the various projects likely to come up in connection with the implementation of e-health in Kerala. Even then they ‘won’ a Union Government grant for total automation. How did this happen and which powers were behind it?
Their article which is reproduced here is just a blabbering of the uninformed and the uncaring in the health field of Kerala, knowing nothing about e-governance or electronic health informatics, interested only in the securing of funds from all possible sources and spending it at their will. They care nothing about people’s health or the privacy and confidentiality of people’s health data or government servants’ accountability. If what they say on doing things in the name of e-health is to be believed to be going to happen actually, they either intend to ignore the legalities of accessibility to health data, protection of health data, citizens’ rights to privacy and confidentiality of their sensitive health data and international guide lines for sharing patient data, or they think they can simply bypass these by sheer criminality. Certainly the health minister of Kerala, a politician who proclaims to know everything under the sun, the political parties of Kerala who assume the role of keeping suspicious views of everything, the various scientific, civil and human rights organizations who pretend to know about every law in the world and interfere in almost everything and the news media in Kerala who report every involvement above five lakhs rupees as scams, did not speak a word against this involvement which is sure to affect the life of every man, woman and child in Kerala. They all will have their piece of the pie, or their relatives or favourites will have it. Violating international chapters on safeguarding sensitive patient data, the people involved in e-health finance and administration in Kerala, are going to enlist private parties and outsource sensitive works to them, at the risk of data loss, theft and manipulation. If there are investigating agencies in Kerala, it is time they begin.
Note that when it was assured that a considerable amount of money would be allotted by the Union Government, there were a rush of activities. Pages were opened in DHS and NRHM websites, news released to news papers and television channels and articles were posted in Face Book. When the money actually came to Trivandrum, it all stopped; there were no more updating or information release, ever. From then onwards, everything became secret and silent, till the alert and vigilant Treasuries Officers began to turn down e-health bills for enormous amounts.
First reported on 8 April 2014