Microsoft India and International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada under their ‘Rural Innovation Fund’, have selected five organisations who will receive financial assistance to support and escalate their work on rural innovation. One of the recipient institutions of this funding support – Aravind Eye Hospital in Theni, Tamil Nadu has proposed a low cost telemedicine solution that reaches out to the rural population. The hospital has showcased an innovative use of IT in facilitating online consultation for patient with ophthalmologists. This approach helps patients acquire the right advice directly from ophthalmologists, saving a lot of time and money. The objective now is to develop an appropriate model to increase the uptake of eye care services at the vision centres opened by the hospital. Commenting on the initiative, Neelam Dhawan, Managing Director, Microsoft India, said, “The Rural Innovation Fund was established to help communities with limited access to technology to realize their potential. The response in the first year of its existence has been tremendous – every one of the 700 applications submitted tells a story of achievement.”

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