A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Telecommunication Consultant of India Limited (TCIL) for the latter’s Pan-African e-Network project. “The Pan-African e-Network Project, foreseen by the former President, Dr. A.P.J. Kalam, would involve giving Tele-consultation and Tele-education by the institute to 53 countries of the African Union. The project is being funded by the centre and the External Affairs Ministry has been designated as the nodal agency. The Tele-consultant would be the turnkey implementing agency”, it was revealed in a release. “With the signing of the MoU, work in this direction which was being carried out in the past few months has been formalized. The services could be started as early as October this year”, the release further said. The Pan-African e-Network Project, estimated at INR 5429 million, envisages setting up an e-network connecting Indian institutions with 53 countries of the Africa, through Satellite and Fiber optic links, and providing Tele-education and Tele-medicine services. TCIL, as an Implementing Agency will set up the network and maintain it for a period of 5 years after commissioning. The network is designed to have 169 VSAT terminals, with 3 VSAT terminals in each country to provide Tele-education, Tele-medicine and Heads of State (VVIP) connectivity with a Satellite Hub Earth station in Senegal. Expansion of the network to the other locations by adding more VSAT terminals as well as broadband, wireless connectivity will be possible by adding additional hardware/ elements and bandwidth. The Tele-education services will be provided from 7 reputed Universities in India and 5 leading regional universities in Africa. The Tele-medicine programme for specialist healthcare services to the African countries will be provided through 12 Super Speciality Hospitals in India and 5 Super Specialty Hospitals in Africa. The project is conceived as a turnkey solution to provide e-Education and e-healthcare services and make it sustainable so that Pan-African countries will be able to carry on with their own services after 5 years duration. As a precursor to the Pan-African e-Network project, Ethiopia Pilot project was initiated to provide Tele-education services from the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) at New Delhi and Tele-medicine services from CARE Hospital, Hyderabad. As part of this project, 40 students of Addis Ababa University and Haramaya University are pursuing MBA course from IGNOU through Tele-education, whereas Black Lion Hospital of Addis Ababa and the Nekempte Hospital in Ethiopia are receiving on-line medical consultation from medical specialists of CARE Hospital, Hyderabad.
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