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Chapter 2.9 : Health

The potential of ICT in contributing to the efficient and effective performance of the health sector is very high especially in remote diagnosis and treatment. Timely collection, management and dissemination of critical information has significant bearing on the performance of the sector in general.

To  this  extent,  the  health  sector  has  embarked  on  reforms  that  include development  of  Health Management Information Systems at various levels. Equally important is the Telemedicine programme being initiated as a deliberate effort to maximise the services provided by the few but highly experienced medical  personnel whose  services  can  only  be  extended  through  technologies  such  as  Telemedicine. Therefore, connectivity of medical institutions to services such as telecommunication and Internet is an important milestone in the use of ICTs in the health sector.

Telemedicine  also  can  be  used  to  provide  both  basic  and  continuous  skills  transfer to  health professionals. This will help mitigate isolation of health professionals in rural areas. The dissemination of  medical  information  through  ICTs  will  facilitate  informed decision-making  particularly  in  hard  to reach areas.

Some of the challenges in integrating ICTs in the health sector include:

  1. The  need  to  improve  ICT  Infrastructure  to  support  basic  communication systems  and specialised applications such as telemedicine;
  2. Inadequate ICT awareness and skills among health professionals to effectively utilise the ICT tools and services;
  3. Inadequate support services for installed ICT equipment especially in rural areas;
  4. Incorporating and prioritising ICT in the core business of healthcare delivery.

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