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Hopes: Lessons from a Practical Example

Author(s): Line Kleinebreil1
Affiliation(s): 1Direction informatique, Hôpital européen Georges Pompidou, Paris, France
Key issues: How to increase access to medical information is an important issue. In most developing countries there is no postgraduate training organisation able to react to emerging diseases or severe epidemic. The digital world creates new opportunities.
Meeting challenges: Partnership between medical experts (public health, epidemiologists, internists) and IT experts is necessary to design, implement and evaluate programmes in the field. The design of HOPES (health operational programme through education and sentinel network) has addressed the following questions with following answers: (1) Final target? Reduce morbidity and mortality, especially child mortality. (2) Health care professionals to be reached by the programme? Primary care professionals, physicians, nurses, and midwives. (3) Topics? They have to be discussed with the countries. Since 2005, HOPES has developed 3 modules of 60 hours each addressing immunization, prevention of HIV transmission, and best practices for most frequent clinical situations. (4) Motivation? Partnership with local university and health ministry is crucial to organize the training and its recognition in the health system. (5) Technical solution? The most important issue is to have a stepwise approach, from DV/CD player, basic mobile phone, up to satellite videoconference. Flexibility is necessary to use existing infrastructure, overcome technical barriers and provide information where needed. (6) Resources? At least 50% of necessary human resources have to come from the developing country in order to disseminate valid medical information in the local context. Infrastructure budget should also be partially supported by the country, even if international agencies help in the initial phase. (7) Sustainability? Partnership is a key issue. North/south, medical and IT partnerships, but also outside the medical world. Extending the local use of communication channels for dissemination of information related to complementary areas is necessary to cover long-term financial costs.
Conclusion (max 400 words): After 18 months of deployment, the HOPES programme has provided medical information to primary health care professionals in Mali and Burkina Faso. Partnership with the RAFT programme is set up to extend geographical access to medical information and share scare pedagogical resources.

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