An ambitious e-health programme is being introduced in one of the world’s poorest countries to help rural doctors get online access to expert advice and guidance in order to provide better care for the sick.

A network of online medical centres will be established in Bangladesh, linked to a network of 200 specialists in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, who will be on hand to offer their expert opinion and help identify diseases at an early stage.

The project is being established by a private company called Bangladesh Telemedicine Services (BTS). The project is being run on entirely commercial grounds, with no funds coming from foreign donors.

According to a BBC Online report the backers of the project are confident they can make money from the rural centres through the cost-savings generated by identifying diseases in the early stages.

Some 50 telemedicine centres within a 120-mile radius of Dhaka are initially planned at a cost of $8,000 each. BTS pay for the local doctors for free, with them owning 60% and BTS keeping the remaining 40%.

At the end of the day, the rural doctors will be able to send case files and queries to headquarters in Dhaka over the internet.

BTS has been running a telemedicine clinic in Dhaka, with links to specialists in the US and Canada, for the past two years.