Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Telemedicine initiative for sub-Saharan Africa: pilot projects proposed

20.03.2007
Satellite solutions delivering information and communication technologies can help improve health in sub-Saharan Africa; this was the main conclusion of a dedicated telemedicine task force which met recently in Botswana. To make these solutions a reality, some short-term, concrete actions have been suggested in a pilot projects proposal.

Three activities are proposed: one focussing on the health workforce (scaling-up numbers, improving performance, increasing quality); a second on clinical services (increasing health service coverage, reaching isolated areas) and a third aimed at strengthening the intelligence gathering capacity of health systems and their ability to use information for decision making.

These demonstration projects will be used to inform and to help develop a framework for extending eHealth, which should be considered as part of the European Union Strategy for Africa commitment to utilise Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance interconnectivity in Africa. The potential of this greater interconnectivity, which will be supported under the tenth European Development Fund (EDF), to extend the reach of health and health services will be tested and demonstrated through these proposed projects.

Held in Gaborone, Botswana on 1 March 2007, it was the third meeting of the Telemedicine Task Force, which is composed of the main relevant African organisations, the World Health Organization, the European Commission and the European Space Agency. It was set up after a workshop held in Brussels in January 2006 that highlighted the potential of satellite telecommunication technology to support health systems in Africa. One of the key tasks of its mandate was to develop a complete picture of telemedicine opportunities in the sub-Saharan region and to formulate recommendations for future action.

In a report the Telemedicine Task Force stresses that among the world’s regions, sub-Saharan Africa, with its 47 countries and 750 million inhabitants (2005 figures), is the one with the highest burden of communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria. The average life expectancy at birth in sub-Saharan Africa was 46 in 2004. Health service coverage is low, as for example figures for immunisation coverage and the numbers of births attended by skilled personnel show. The region faces a serious health workforce crisis, due to the migration of doctors and nurses to more developed countries, and also due to the death of skilled personnel from disease.

The Telemedicine Task Force has since reviewed the health policies and strategies for African development of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, of the World Health Organization and of the European Union. The strategies recognise ICT as an important enabler for progress towards these goals in the African region. The review revealed however, that overall ICT penetration in most African countries is low. For, example, despite the rapid growth of mobile phone subscribers in the last few years, the total penetration rate for the sub-Saharan region, excluding South Africa, was as low as three subscribers per 100 inhabitants for a population coverage of 48% in 2003 [ITU 2004]. Availability of computers and in particular Internet access was extremely low. Africa remains the most disenfranchised region in the world as regards Internet access. However, by complementing terrestrial infrastructure with satellite communications, complete coverage of the sub-Saharan region can be achieved, according to the Telemedicine Task Force. The proposed pilot projects should concretely demonstrate the feasibility of this approach.

In the long-term, a programmatic framework should outline actions in the step-wise development of sustainable eHealth infrastructure and services, based on the open standards and the needs of African countries in the priority areas approved by the World Health Organisation Executive Board in January 2006. These plans, short-term and long term should help bring the power of information and communication technologies to bear positively on health sector challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and thereby ensure improved health for its citizens.

Giorgio Parentela | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaTE/SEM4CVQ08ZE_index_0.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Ultra-precise chip-scale sensor detects unprecedentedly small changes at the nanoscale
18.01.2017 | The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

nachricht Data analysis optimizes cyber-physical systems in telecommunications and building automation
18.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Algorithmen und Wissenschaftliches Rechnen SCAI

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global threat to primates concerns us all

19.01.2017 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Scientist from Kiel University coordinates Million Euros Project in Inflammation Research

19.01.2017 | Awards Funding

The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents

19.01.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>