ICT4D Initiatives in i2HealthSantPau
The eHealth & eInclusion cluster of i2Cat Foundation has a wide experience in innovative telemedicine solutions, which have been successfully deployed in many projects within the European context. Most of these projects have been focused on professional-to-professional scenarios, where the use of different collaborative tools (such as videoconferencing platforms and shared medical reports) have proven to be a very useful approach to tackle health provisioning problems in locations with lack of specialized human resources.
However, the potential use of telemedicine not only applies to developed regions, but also to developing countries, as it can be an efficient means of improving health access in isolated areas. Taking into account different scenarios from countries in the South, it can be stated that health services are highly centralized, as specialized assistance is located mainly in the capital, thus leaving rural areas without proper basic health care service. Therefore, eHealth solutions appear to be a suitable solution for this scenario, not only improving healthcare access, but also supporting health workers in isolated settings or addressing the shortage of specialist doctors in areas without proper human and material resources.
Consequently, after a first tele-ophthalmology project in Senegal (OFTALKOLDA) and given the opportunity that this situation brings, the cluster of eHealth & eInclusion has started to explore new collaborations and joint proposals with research institutions and NGO’s from the developing eHealth sector in Africa. For instance, a collaborative proposal has been submitted with the African NGO AMREF, related to the continuation of the OFTALKOLDA project in Senegal, and also a first contact has been made with Médicos Sin Fronteras, in order to explore solutions related to mobile videconferencing systems. Last but not least, the cluster of eHealth & eDependence, together with the Media cluster and other european partners (PSNC), will presented a paper related to the HIPERMED Project and the possible application in development contexts, in the next IST Africa Event 2013 to be held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Senegalaise optician taking digital eye-fundus pictures