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GHF2008 – PS21 – Information and Communication Technology in Support of Health Workers

Session Outline

Parallel session PS21, Tuesday, May 27 2008, 16:00-17:30, Room 18
Chair(s): Meissa Touré, UCAD, Dakar University, Senegal, Kazem Behbehani, Former WHO Assistant Director-General, External Relations and Governing Bodies, UK 
Preparing Health Professionals for Work in Isolated Settings 
Walinjom Muna, Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Chief of the Department of Internal Medicine and Subspecialities, University of Yaounde, Cameron 
African Nework of Distance Training Centres for Health Proximity Actors: A Francophone Initiative to Contribute to the Millennium Development Goals
Line Kleinebreil, Deputy Secretary General, Université Numérique Francophone Mondiale, France  
Logistics of Telemedicine: Experiences in Mali
Cheick Oumar Bagayoko, Coordinator, Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémedecine (RAFT), University Hospitals of Geneva, Switzerland 
Telemedicine at Various Levels of Health Systems: Experiences in Niger 
Ali Ibrahim Touré, Head of Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Department, Focal Point of RAFT-UNFM, Niger 
Decision Support: Preliminary Results from a Phased Implementation Planned for the Map of Medicine in Africa 
Sylvester Yunkap Kwankam, Coordinator eHealth, World Health Organization, Switzerland

Session Documents

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Session Report

Contributors: Frances Narvaez (ICVolunteers)

One cannot deny the immense impact technology has on humankind. It enables individuals to watch over others' health from a great distance.

An example of an organization promoting health care access to developing regions is Université Numérique Francophone Mondiale (UNFM), represented at the 2008 Geneva Health Forum by its Deputy Secretary General, Line Kleinebreil. A variety of UNFM bases have been founded in five African towns. The organization's educational programmes centre on the issue of health, but cover a range of topics such as health decisions, HIV transmission prevention from mother to child, diabetes and chronic disease care plans, among others. Together with the Senghor University of Alexandria, the UNFM presents its 'Interuniversity diploma in care and alert decisions' to students who have successfully completed the courses. What is pivotal for the organization, however, is its promotion and effective use of e-medicine in order to make accessible secluded towns and to allow diagnosis for emergency care in remote areas. Similarly, it aims to develop various programmes geared towards answering calls from village staff, as well as planting 'cyber centres' that will enable students to self-study via the internet.

On a similar scale, the Centre d'Expertise et de Recherche en Télémedecine et E-Santé (CERTES) is& geared towards providing coordination of telemedicine applications between Mali and Francophone Africa. Cheick Oumar Bagayoko, Coordinator of Réseau en Afrique Francophone pour la Télémedecine (RAFT), presented new technologies the organization is developing, called the Ikon teleradiology project, e-learning, and teleconsultation. He said that through these, the group expects "better management of the flow of requests for teleconsultation, better orientation of health professionals and the public, validation of new applications for telemedicine, installation of solid research activities, and training of competent human resources."

According to Dr. Walinjom Muna of the University of Yaounde in Cameroon, the "adoption of technology must be 'needs-based' because the best use of already scarce resources must be made." Furthermore, he said that as health professionals take action in rural settings, they ought to use distant "experience, expertise and other resources" through the technological resources provided to them in order to promote the competence of communities in isolated areas.

Fatima Sanz de Leon of the World Health Organization explained their new project, called the Map of Medicine, which enables health workers doing field work in Africa to access information such as online journals and health care information that is specially adapted to local areas lacking in resources.

Finally, Ali Ibrahim Touré, Head of the internal medicine cardiovascular department and focal point of RAFT-UNFM Niger, discussed the partnership Niger has been holding with the UNFM and RAFT regarding cost-effective methods in using e-health technologies, as well as the steps taken in order to achieve the aim of using 'telehealth' as a 'highway' in reaching the 8th Millennium Development Goal.

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