ICTs are at the heart of modern healthcare
systems and services and can distribute information worldwide, in particular to the developing
world. National and international e-health initiatives are challenged by
deep-rooted problems and lack infrastructure and investment. Nevertheless,
through ICTs, technology offers the prospects for a longer and healthier life is
being used to boost human health, hygiene and nutrition. Many remote villages
that lack easy access
to hospitals and medical facilities are now being helped by telemedicine and digitized
health information, which are helping millions of citizens improve
their daily lives. Promising public and private partnerships are now underway throughout the world;
the examples below highlight the work of several of these.
ICT stories from the field
Telephone and Internet based Medical appointments in Mexico
Success strategy: This project is a response of the Director
General of Social Security and services to the problem of
excessive time spent to gain access to any of the 168 first-level family
Healthcare clinics available nationwide.
The project creates a system of medical appointments either by telephone via a toll free number or over the internet. The average time spent waiting to secure medical attention is 4 hours which does not guarantee a physician's attention. The new system handles the appointment schedules of all the family health care clinics in the country. It does assist the clinics to organize their workload .The user selects a date convenient and the available timeslots are presented to the user to select.
This project has been given a presidential target which implies that a report of progress is submitted to the presidency monthly.
The process ensures that anyone given an appointment is attended to by a doctor.
what is required of the patient is to show up at the clinic on the day of the appointment 15 minutes to schedule to announce his attendance showing relevant identity document . The clerk at the clinic then enters the attendance in the system's
database. The system also has its own feedback mechanism
where users and provide feedback on its efficiency.
This system is currently deployed in no less than 116 clinics in 16 states which includes the capital city Mexico. It provides easy access to health care regardless of distance and location. It has resulted in a reduction in productivity loss which is one of the main advantages of ICT deployment, also as part of the implementation activities of the system, training is provided in the use of the ICTs relevant to the system. Finally the physicians working in the first level attention medical clinics are able to organize their work better and work punctually.
Instituto de Seguridad y Servicios Sociales de los Trabajadores del Estado (ISSSTE)
(ISSSTE), International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD)
of Korea: Computerizing Medical Claims
of the most computerized parts of the health sector in the Republic of Korea is
the Health Insurance Review Agency (HIRA), an independent
agency set up in 2000 to review and process health claims. With close to 600 million claims a
year, HIRA has a strong incentive to promote efficient and timely processing
through the adoption of information technology. It has been actively encouraging
medical care institutions to adopt electronic data interchange (EDI) technology
for submitting claims. HIRA has a backbone network connecting its seven regional
offices through high-speed ATM links to the headquarters in Seoul. Medical
institutions can log into HIRA’s site to submit their claims.
Although not all
health-care providers use the EDI system to make their reimbursement claims,
most do. Out of a total of 63,675 medical care facilities, 42,280 are connected
to the network and HIRA receives 77 per cent of all claims electronically. An
additional 15 per cent are submitted by diskette and the remaining claims are
sent in paper format. The benefits of electronic processing have been enormous.
Errors have been cut back significantly, and overall wastage of time and
resources substantially reduced. Besides making the processing of medical claims
more efficient, the system also allows patients to check their medical records.
HIRA has a near-term target of having over 90 per cent of medical institutions
submitting electronic claims.
For in-depth information:
the ITU case study on Korea
United Nations Health InterNetwork
Health InterNetwork is one of four major initiatives of the
UN Millennium Action Plan. It aims to bridge the digital
divide in health by providing access to high quality, timely
information for health professionals, researchers and policy
makers in developing countries, using the internet. The core
components of this public-private partnership are content,
connectivity, capacity building and policy.
Recognizing the negative effects
associated with unequal distribution of health-related
information throughout the world, the Secretary General of
the United Nations called on the World Health Organization
(WHO) to bridge the digital divide in health. Drawing on
the expertise of public and private actors, international
organizations and NGOs, WHO launched the Health internetwork
in Septembre 2000 to address the healthcare information gap
that exists between developed and developing countries.
It aims to improve public health by facilitating the flow of
health information, using the Internet. The core elements of
the project are content, Internet connectivity and capacity
seven-year, USD 150 to 200 million project has three key
Content creation: On completion
of a country assessment study, WHO implementation teams work with academia, private sector and local
partners to create an internet portal that gives
marginalized groups access to high-quality, contextually
relevant content created, where possible, in local/
Connectivity: Guided by a
technology advisory group comprised of UNDP and ITU
officials, the project seeks to establish over 10,000
internet access sites over the next seven years. The
WHO will work closely with NGOs and local partners to
implement, manage and maintain the internet sites.
Capacity-building: Realizing that
many communities in the developing world lack the skills
to effectively use ICTS, the WHO implementation teams
will provide hands-on training in a variety of new
technology fields, including basic computer and internet
As a key component of the project, the Health InterNetwork
portal provides a vast library of the latest and best
information on public health. Users can access more than
1,000 scientific publications, as well as statistical data
and information for health policy and practice - essential
information for research, and health services delivery. The
portal will also make available information technology
health applications such as geographical information systems
and epidemiological tools, plus courses and training offered
through distance learning. Pilot
projects are at present underway in eight countries in
Africa, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Deliver effective public health services
Country needs are the basis for content development and
selection; for example, publishing local and regional public
health information that is currently unavailable
electronically is given special attention. A content
advisory group guides the selection of core public health
content and the process for making it available. The
academic and private sectors, along with local partners are
contributing their knowledge and experience in developing
and publishing information as well as contributing content.
The Health InterNetwork seeks also to establish or upgrade
thousands of Internet-connected sites in public and
not-for-profit institutions in developing countries.
Capacity building: to create an information environment
Health InterNetwork training concentrates on building the
skills needed to put information into action: information
access and use in daily work, basic computer and Internet
skills, and hands-on training to use specialized public
health information, literature and tools. A training
advisory group is being established to guide the development
and delivery of training courses, adapted to fit the needs
of institutions with different information environments.
During the first year the Health InterNetwork achieved a
major breakthrough on provision of health content. Starting
in January 2002, the world's six biggest biomedical journal
publishers have agreed to provide access to more than 1,000
of their scientific publications for free or at
deeply-reduced rates to medical schools, research
institutions and government offices in developing countries.
Many other publishers are interested in joining this
initiative as it expands.
Several examples of pilot projects could be find on
website of the activity.
The Health InterNetwork was created with one single purpose:
to bridge the digital divide in health. Towards that end,
health information - relevant, timely and appropriate - must
become unrestricted and affordable worldwide, so that all
communities can benefit from this global public good.
Professionals in the field of Medical sciences, large
World Health Organization (WHO) and
number of partners
Stocktaking Database and
website of the activity
Success Strategy: While
based in the United States, the National Center for Biotechnology
Information’s (NCBI) efforts to map the human genome is applicable the world
over. Created by United States.
Senator Claude Pepper in 1988, the NCBI, in tandem with the National Library of
Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, has successfully digitized the
staggering volume of molecular data that makes up the most complex system in the
world: men and women. Upon assuming
responsibility for the GenBank DNA sequence in 1992, the NCBI has partnered with
computer scientists, molecular biologists, mathematicians and the like from
around the world to create electronic databases that help the global scientific
community to better understand the human genetic legacy.
Drawing on data collected from its European and Japanese counterparts,
the NCBI’s efforts not only help to map the human genome, but also provide an
online forum for discussing, researching and analyzing diseases and viruses
(AIDS) that continue to stifle development in marginalized societies.
Through data exchange and knowledge transfers, the research initiatives
sponsored by the NCBI and its partners are helping scientists in underprivileged
societies more effectively address many of the health-related problems that
keeps them at the margins of the global community.
For in-depth information:
The United-Kingdom-based Isabel Medical
Charity, “Isabel.org.uk”, was designed in response to a misdiagnosis that
almost killed a three year-old named Isabel. The parents of Isabel created the site in 2000 to provide clinical
decision support for pediatricians in order to avert misdiagnoses and
preventable illnesses. At the heart
of the site is Autonomy Corporation’s sophisticated cataloging software, which
allows members of the medical community to input patient symptoms to retrieve a
range of 15 diagnoses from a library of over 3,500 entries.
The site also contains an annotated image library that allows doctors to
compare x-rays and clinical pictures from a variety of medical fields.
For in-depth information:
the Isabel.org case study
e-Farmasi - Malaysia
e-Farmasi is a project that links communities to their neighbourhood pharmacies
and provides an impartial database on illnesses and medicines. e-Farmasi will
enable the community to access a database of unbiased information about
medicines, their use, side effects, directions for use etc.
Using ICT, community members can direct questions to a pharmacist and where
appropriate, complete a pharmaceutical transaction over the net. Part of the
project also involves the provision of a pharmacy management program to
pharmacists -- to help them manage their pharmacy, keep patient medication
records and provide pharmaceutical care.
The database contains information on over 27,000 products that are nationally
registered (NPCB) in both English and Bahasa Malaysia. Medicines can be searched
by either ingredient or brand name, assistance is also provided to guide
patients towards the right product for non-serious ailments. The site also
contains information on a variety of ailments, including diagnostic guides and
self-care strategies. The website contains extensive listings of participating
and independent pharmacies as well as some non-registered outlets such as
National Information Technology Council of Malaysia under the Demonstrator
Application Grant Scheme (DAGS), jointly developed by the Pharmacy Division of
the Ministry of Health, The Malaysian Pharmaceutical Society, and GS Vision Sdn
The Communication Initiative website and
of Life Radio Show - Ethiopia
A radio serial drama that began airing in 2001 in Ethiopia designed to encourage
young adults at risk to protect themselves from HIV/AIDS and unwanted
pregnancies by depicting characters engaging in either risky or safe sexual
behaviour. The goal is to help Ethiopians understand how easy it is to become
infected with HIV, as well as how easy it is to protect oneself from the virus.
The radio series "Journey of Life" portrays characters with whom audiences can
identify. While vulnerable, these characters are empowered to take steps to
protect themselves and their loved ones against unwanted pregnancies and
A final impact evaluation of the 26-week radio soap opera revealed that personal
risk perception rose to 66.2% after listening to JOL. While almost all listeners
(97.6%) believe that HIV/AIDS is a serious health threat in Ethiopia, they also
believe strongly (96%) that they have the power to avoid HIV infection. Most
respondents (86.6%) agreed or strongly agreed that after listening to JOL they
wanted to change their lives for the better. Specifically, the vast majority of
urban youth listeners (95.9%) said that JOL influenced them to protect
themselves against HIV/AIDS. Females reported a stronger behavioural impact from
JOL than males.
66.2% of urban youth surveyed in the final evaluation agreed that they were
susceptible to HIV infection. Most listeners (95.1%) agreed that JOL made them
believe there were effective ways to avoid HIV infection. Over 95% of the
listeners said that JOL made them feel hopeful about avoiding HIV infection.
Almost all of the listeners (97%) agreed that JOL made them believe that having
children when they weren't ready was harmful. Females felt greater perceived
severity than males from having children when they weren't ready.
Johns Hopkins University Center for Communication Programs (JHU/CCP); the U.S.
Agency for International Development
The communication Initiative website
In Robib, a very
isolated village in Cambodia, a nurse and a technician visit
once per month to administer medical examinations and
treatments for sick patients incapable of traveling to the
nearest medical centre or hospital. When the nurse is
unable to diagnose a given ailment on-site, the technician
takes a digital photo, which can then be transmitted via a
wireless internet connection to a doctor at a medical
institution, such as the Harvard Medical School for
A popular community radio station named Radio Oxyjeune, which broadcasts to a
poor suburb of Senegal's capital, Dakar, not only pumps out music and chats to
its audience, but takes an active role in its listeners' lives. It broadcasts
programmes in both the national and local languages to reach as many people as
Radio Oxyjeune has phone-in shows that regularly tackle subjects many consider
taboo such as HIV/AIDS and women's rights. Anonymous interviews with HIV
positive individuals have helped to drive home their message in an environment
that still attempts to hide from the epidemic. Organizers believe that the use
of personal stories is one of the most effective ways to get the message about
AIDS across to the community.
The phone-in feature provides an opportunity for two way communication and
information exchange within the community using widely accessible mediums. The
organizers have recognised that both old and new technologies have the potential
to enable various kinds of social change. The philosophy driving their success
is that it is what people do with technology rather than the technology itself
that is important feature of social change.
The Communication Initiative website and
In 1999, the
Ministry of Health sought to leverage the power of new
technologies to provide health care information for all
Hungarians. By creating MEDINFO, an online reference source
and database that is the central node for health
care-related communication in the country, the Ministry has
made it easier for health care professionals to coordinate
activities, while providing the public with a user-friendly
interface to access the information they need to maintain
mental and physical health. The site also serves as a
repository for information to resources outside of Hungary
(e.g. the World Health Organization—WHO).
MaghrebMed - Tunisia
MaghrebMed was created as a driver for
promoting both health and ICTs, and in particular for taking
advantage of endless opportunities that internet provides
for dissemination health information and forge new patterns
of health behaviour and health best practices. The platform
is based on a bunch of thematic websites addressing
professionals from the domain as well as the wide public.
Human and veterinary health as well as health care are
considered as a wide life field and various related aspects,
such as history, jurisdiction and deontology are documented
The concept of the website is to be a
portal providing access to a considerable knowledge
resources as well as to specific interests & activities
forums opening an opportunity for building virtual
communities. The increased, facilitated and interactive
access to information on health, health facilities and
related activities is expected to contribute to the
improvement of the health condition of people in the region
over the long term.
Partners: A very
large number of
institutions, association and companies form the field of
Awards: Winner of
the national contest Best Digital Content and Applications -
Tunisia 2005, Category e-Health Nominee for the WSIS-Award
2005, Category e-Health
the MaghrebMed website and
the WSIS Stocktaking database
Royal Perth Hospital
Laboratory diagnosis of the various types and stages of development of the
Malaria parasite is a critical component of effective control and treatment. The
Division of Laboratory Medicine at the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia has
developed a resource to assist in the learning process for inexperienced
technicians and those attempting to address the disease. The information
provided on the trilingual website and the CDROM is available in French, English
The resource combine is based on common e-learning methods and contains valuable
database about the disease and its treatment. The most innovative feature of
this resource is the interactive “Test and Teach” self-assessment module that
presents a series of photomicrographs, which present a series of thick and thin
blood films that help learners to improve their identification skills. The teach
function presents them with identification hints and while the test slide asks
for diagnosis. The slide show randomizes each time and inserts several dummy,
asymptomatic slides throughout.
The Communication Initiative website
Royal Perth Hospital project website
SMS Medication Regime- South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa, has one of the world's highest incidences of TB,
largely due to socio-economic and climatic factors. TB patients must strictly
follow a difficult drug regime -- four tablets five times a week for six months
-- and they often forget to take their medication. Non-compliance with the drug
treatment has exacerbated the high occurrence of TB and has created difficulties
for the local, overburdened healthcare service.
Dr. David Green, a consultant in Managed Care, developed a service in South
Africa that uses the Short Message Service (SMS) to alert tuberculosis (TB)
patients to take their medication. At the clinic where the pilot study was
conducted, 71% of TB patients had access to a cell phone. Dr. Green enters the
names of TB patients onto a database. Every half an hour his computer server
reads the database and sends personalized messages to the patients, reminding
them to take their medication. The technology that he uses to send out the
messages is extremely low-cost and robust: an open source software operating
system, web server, mail transport agent, applications, and a database.
Currently Dr. Green charges the City of Cape Town R11.80 per patient per month
to send out SMS messages.
Initially the SMS message sent to patients read: "Take your Rifafour now." When
patients complained about the boring message, Dr. Green sent them a variety of
alerts, including jokes and lifestyle tips with the result that he now has as
database of over 800 messages that he changes on a daily basis. Of the 138
patients involved in the pilot, there was only one treatment failure. The
initiative has led to a significant increase in the recovery rate of patients
and could lead to savings for healthcare authorities. This project is being
extended nationally and considered for HIV medication.
Patients under strict medication
City Council of Cape Town, U of Cape Town, South African Medical Service Council
The Communication Initiative website and
Success Strategy: Created
by Citibank and Raya Holdings in 2000, Ciranet.com has
helped to modernize Egypt’s pharmaceutical community by
providing them with an online marketplace. Targeted at
pharmaceutical businesses in Egypt, Ciranet.com offers
professionals with an efficient, cost effective and
efficient method of e-commerce. Despite the fact that only
2,000 of the approximately 19,000 Egyptian pharmacies have
PCs, Ciranet.com has brought together a variety of necessary
business resources, such as a call center support, payment
processing and online ordering, in an effort to help
transform this segment of the country’s business culture.
Ciranet.com is helping to lay the foundation for Egypt’s
e-commerce and knowledge revolutions.
Communications for Better Health (CBH) Programme
Working in conjunction with the Dreyfus Health Foundation, the HFG has
implemented a Communications for Better Health (CBH) programme. CBH programmes
are designed to improve accessibility to timely health information.
Ghana was the site of the pilot CBH project and developed into two streams, the
first is the medical publication, the Ghana Health Digest. The health digest
provides medical practitioners, administrators, and government policy makers and
parliamentarians with timely health news and information. The selection of
abstracts takes into consideration local health conditions and contains relevant
articles written by local health specialists (such as "A Guide to Malaria
Prevention and Control"), summaries of findings from community health projects,
personal health experiences, interviews, FAQs, questionnaires and answers and
The digest gains mass exposure by the bi-weekly reading of highlights from the
digest on the National Morning Breakfast Show on Ghana Television (GTV) and the
Daily Graphic Newspaper has featured several articles for their weekly health
column. The Health Foundation of Ghana is also in negotiation with Ghana
Broadcasting Corporation (radio) to broadcast information from the digest.
In the second stream, local databases are created by indigenous health
professionals and other interested parties, who, working together, select
information from international resources and from in-country or regional
colleagues. Solutions to common local health problems are also gleaned from
local health professionals. The database of local health information is kept in
each country's information centre (head office) in paper format (and often in
electronic format, also). People call and visit the centres for local and
international medical information.
A national version of this database, the African Index Medicus (AIM), is being
developed. AIM provides an index of African health literature and information
sources using CDS-ISIS software. AIM identifies bibliographic sources and
includes databases on information experts and sources of research in
health-related areas of African countries.
medical practitioners, administrators, and government policy
makers and broader
Health Foundation of Ghana (HFG), Dreyfus Health Foundation (DHF), Association
for Health Information and Libraries in Africa (AHILA) and the World Health
Communication Initiative website
Women Connect! - Eastern and Southern Africa
Faced with limited financial resources in an era of increasing social problems,
women's organisations in developing nations must find ways to utilise both
traditional media to reach their rural audiences and digital media for
international audiences to get their messages out and improve women's health and
Women Connect! combines communications
and health strategies for the improvement of women's lives by working through
women's non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
Launched in January 1999, the project aimed to strengthen the communication and
advocacy skills of women's rights organisations. This strategy aimed at the
broader goals of women's empowerment and support in building civil society.
The grant awards allowed groups to implement pilot communications projects
suited to their needs, including:
Downloading health information from the internet and repackaging it for
bi-weekly email updates to local health service providers and NGOs that lacked
updated resource materials.
Producing a community newsletter soliciting narratives on local approaches
to HIV/AIDS education and care, primary health care needs, and economic
Producing health programmes on three radio stations – one providing health
tips and one featuring dialogue and problem solving with a local
Training staff in email use for networking and online advocacy.
Conducting HIV/AIDS outreach to disabled women, who are often left out of
national HIV campaigns and often have limited knowledge of prevention of STIs and available services.
Carrying out a media campaign aimed to increase reproductive and sexual
health information and services to adolescents.
Among the outcomes of the initiative are the launching of
internet cafés in
Zimbabwe and Uganda, training women to use internet and email, developing
broader (new) communication skills through ICTs in order to locate, analyse, and
adapt health information for repackaging into traditional media printed in local
Women, vulnerable groups
Partners:The Communication Initiative website ; the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation; and the University of Southern California (USC) Annenberg Center for
Communication; Global Fund for Women.
The Communication initiative website and
The Pacific Institute for Women's Health (PIWH)
COPE - Australia
COPE is an independent, non-profit, education and training centre offering high
quality community and health services worker training and a broad-based
community education program which focuses on strengthening communities, family
and relationship education, and life skills education, including skills for
living and working.
The COPE philosophy believes that there is much to learn from, and with,
Indigenous people. This belief has shaped their approach to learning and
teaching. They are also committed to the process of reconciliation between
Indigenous and subsequent Australians, and in tenants of respect for the rights
of all people.
The COPE website serves as a gateway to a host of resources and access points to
the organizations various training programs. Some of their programme delivery is
conducted online and with internet/email facilitation. Their training for people
working in the Community and Health Services sector aims to raise awareness,
develop appropriate attitudes towards client values and needs, and develop
effective professional strategies and skills.
COPE offers the following services:
Programs may take the form of Workshops or Action learning projects.
Workshops are tailored to meet the needs of the organisation, and delivery
times and approach are negotiated with COPE. Action learning projects,
take a group of learners and develops their understanding of a chosen topics,
and creates and implements an action plan within their agency to make changes to
The group is facilitated by an outside trainer and may meet over a period of
weeks or months, seeking a range of external input, taking on individual tasks
to develop their knowledge and researching their agency needs. The use of ICTs
during these training periods is important for information sharing, dialogue,
and the exchange of ideas. The website also acts as a resource centre, with
searchable access to their library, a collection or recommended readings and
reports, tips for stress management, and links to other resource pages.
Health services workers
Relationships Australia (SA)
The Communication Initiative website and
is a international NGO providing health care information and
communication services in the development world. HealthNet
Nepal began in 1994, and has since become the premier
provider of health care-related information to over 500
users in 134 organizations throughout the kingdom. By
providing services such as e-mail, reports, computerized
medical records and statistics, and a comprehensive library
of medical information and useful links, HealthNet gives
users access to a wealth of information on how to protect
themselves from a variety of viruses and diseases. For
instance, Nepal has a chronic problem with water
contamination, and HealthNet provides the tools for users to
arm themselves with information to avoid or effectively
address illnesses related to a given water problem.
HealthNet is currently in the process of updating and
expanding its services to all of the country’s health care
Satellite Connectivity Project - Latin America and the
E-Link Americas is a landmark project aimed at connecting
the remote and underserved areas in the Americas using ICTs for
social and economic development. E-Link Americas aggregates
demand and creates regional infrastructures to offer
low-cost, high-speed internet service for social
development. Satellite and terrestrial
wireless technologies are used to deliver affordable,
financially viable, internet access to municipalities,
universities, schools, hospitals, telecentres and other
community-based organizations in Latin America and the
Caribbean. Existing infrastructure are leveraged using
wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, to extend access to
businesses and homes.
E-Link's services are based on high-speed internet access
through VSAT terminals, which are connected to a satellite
gateway in Canada using the Ku band. Each access point can
be extended using Wi-Fi technology. E-Link's services are
delivered using a broadband VSAT satellite Ku-band hub, low
cost digital remote terminals and local terrestrial wireless
links to provide uniform access to internet
E-Link services are managed by in-country partners
generating local employment. In order to provide service to
the entire region of Latin America and the Caribbean at
affordable costs, E-Link Americas works with Local Service
Partners. Local Service Partners act on behalf of E-Link
Americas in each country or region. Chile, Colombia,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Peru.
In addition, when a local organization subscribes to E-Link
high-speed internet service, E-Link provides all the
necessary equipment, including small satellite dishes and
high-speed access devices.
The concept of using open standards such as DVB-RCS and
Wi-Fi and the capability of purchasing locally manufactured
products and obtaining local support are key differentiators
that set E-Link apart from other service solutions.
E-Link Americas supported by Canadian International
Development Agency (CIDA), the World Bank, the OAS, the
Institute for Connectivity in the Americas (ICA), and the
International Development Research Centre (IDRC)
Stocktaking Database and the
PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health)
PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) is an international, nonprofit, non-governmental organization with headquarters in Seattle, WA, and
offices in Washington, D.C., Jakarta, Nairobi, Manila, Bangkok, and Kiev.
PATH identifies, develops, and applies appropriate, safe, effective and
innovative technology-based solutions to public health problems, particularly in
the areas of communicable diseases, family planning, and reproductive health.
PATH has developed several innovative programs to in response to the AIDS
epidemic, two of which are reviewed below.
In 1995 PATH (Program for Appropriate Technology in Health) developed
RiskAdvisor, an easy-to-use interactive software program that allows individuals
to assess their personal risk of HIV infection based on their present patterns
of behaviour. The program then helps to develop goals to change their behaviour,
thereby reducing their risk of infection or transmission. "RiskAdvisor, and
computer-based assessment and learning programs like it, hold promise as
powerful educational tools by providing simulated experiences that allow
individuals to experiment with behaviour change strategies," states Dr. Sharon
Baker, University of Washington, School of social work.
RiskAdvisor was designed by HIV counsellors for HIV counsellors to help them
talk with their clients about potentially embarrassing topics and to show
graphically how behaviour affects risk of exposure to HIV. While many people are
knowledgeable about AIDS, even those at high risk of exposure to HIV often do
not perceive themselves as vulnerable to infection. Clients have reported
feeling more comfortable answering questions about sexual and injection
practices when interacting with RiskAdvisor than they would have if being
personally interviewed by a counsellor. RiskAdvisor has been translated for use
in AIDS prevention programs in Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Thailand.
The program, supplied on 3.5" diskettes, requires a 386 or faster computer with
Windows and a mouse. A less explicit version, RiskTeacher, is available for more
general risk reduction education, as well as Village RiskAdvisor, a paper-based
version of RiskAdvisor.
Interactive Games Project
In March 2003, the PATH launched a mass media project that uses a web-based
interactive computer game to promote adolescent sexual and reproductive health
(ASRH) among young people in Bangkok, Thailand. The game is intended to
entertain 13- to 15-year-olds while it educates them.
The government of Thailand is supporting the effort by following through on its
commitment to provide computers to all schools around the country, including
rural sites, and to provide internet connections.
Placing the game on the Web allows use of the technology known as "cookies",
which enable the project to anonymously keep an ongoing profile of each player
and to record his or her accuracy in terms of answering questions in the game.
Organizers claim that, in Bangkok, more than 250,000 youth frequent internet
cafes per week to play computer games. A pre-test in late 2002 showed a positive
reaction to the game.
Youth, rural communities, broader audience
M-WEB, Microsoft Games, the Thai Government.
The Communication Initiative website
Health Information Project - South Caucasus
This Health Information Project aims to strengthen the health reform in the
South Caucasus countries, through the appropriate application of health
information technology and information management strategies.
Canadian International Development Agency - CIDA
WSIS Stocktaking Database
Nepal Radio and Traditional Media Campaign to Prevent Blindness - Nepal
A social-marketing-type campaign based on radio, newspapers and traditional
media which was used to promote eye-surgery at eye-centres and camps for
blindness prevention. The key to the Nepal Blindness Programme's success lies in
the mix of attractive social-marketing-type packaging and of traditional
communication channels. The main issue addressed was the problem of blindness
caused by cataracts and glauchoma and the prevention of blindness through
The campaign achieved a 74% increase in demand for sight restoring operations
during its first year, ensuring that surgical cases at centres rose from about
7,500 in 1985-86 to 11,500 in 1986-87, and that a total of almost 200,00
outpatients were treated in the year of the campaign. In the second year of the
campaign, there was a 14% decrease in the surgical caseload and a 5% decrease in
outpatients. This can be explained as follows: eye camps were repeatedly held in
the same location, so backlogs in areas could well have been treated in the
Nepal Ministry of Health, World Health Organization (WHO), Nepali NGO: Nepal
Netra Jyoti Sangh (NNJS) (Nepal Society for Comprehensive Eye Care) in
partnership with the Seva Foundation Blindness Prevention Action - an NGO - and
Dutch Foundation Eye Care Himalaya
The communication Initiative website
ICTs for Participatory Health and Livelihood Skills Training for Mon Migrants –
In the Mon State of Myanmar, political differences between Mon and Burmese
military authorities persist despite the 1995 cease-fire. More than 200,000 Mon
fled the continuing instability there and now struggle to feed themselves and
their families under trying conditions in border areas. Cross-border migrants
like these typically live in fear, worried about being exposed to authorities
and anxious about food security and income generation. Health issues including
drainage of household water and the management of waste are overtaken by a
preoccupation with survival.
ICTs for Participatory Health and Livelihood Skills Training is a pilot project
designed to harness new digital camera technologies to help cross-border
migrants learn basic health and livelihood skills that can improve their
well-being even under the harsh realities stateless migrant experience.
Community-based facilitators are taught how to lead interactive group
discussions among marginally-literate neighbours and friends. Each target
population learns how to critically assess local health and livelihood practices
while collaboratively constructing their own models of best practices.
Using Participatory Video Editing, group facilitators capture raw digital video
footage of poor health and livelihood practices to stimulate collaborative
development of improved practices. Through an iterative process, poor practices
are gradually edited out and improved practices edited in resulting in local
models of best practices that incorporate the insights of the full range of
stakeholders. The twelve video modules developed under the pilot will be
produced and distributed as a set of Video CDs (VCDs) to facilitate the exchange
of these best practice results across the participating target populations.
In addition to the Mon and Karen migrants in the border areas of Kanchanaburi
and Ratchaburi provinces, the target populations include Burmese migrants
working in the seafood plants of Mahachai in Samut Sakhon province, Laotian
migrants crossing the Mekong at Khong Jiam in Ubon Ratchanthani province, and
crossborder Khmu and Hmong along the border between Laos and the Han province of
This one-year activity is funded by USAID under the dot-EDU cooperative
agreement that seeks to strengthen education and learning systems through the
use of information and communication technologies (ICTs).
The project is being
implemented with collaboration from a network of local NGOs that includes the Pattanarak Foundation, the Raks Thai Foundation, the Mon Relief and Development
Committee. Hands on activities related to specific health and livelihood themes
are being carried out by these local implementing partners with support from
other donors. Education Development Centre and Academy for Education Development
are jointly administering the activity.
dot.com Alliance website
Give 1 Minute of Your Life To Stop AIDS - South Africa
This Nelson Mandela Foundation initiative brings together leading music icons to
create a new way of donating funds toward, and raising awareness about,
HIV/AIDS. The campaign uses former South African president Nelson Mandela's
prison number, 46664, as a telephone number and website address in a campaign
that seeks to support the fight of AIDS in South Africa.
"Give 1 Minute of Your Life To Stop AIDS" is an effort to draw on global musical
talent, and people's love of music, to inspire increased awareness, discussion,
and action related to HIV/AIDS. The campaign is multi-faceted, combining a music
concert launch with worldwide broadcast, a website, telephone service, and a CD
For instance, at the launch of the 'Give 1 Minute of Your Life To Stop AIDS'
campaign, songs heard included "46664 (Long Walk to Freedom)" written by Joe
Strummer, Bono, and Dave Stewart, and performed by Bono, Youssou N'Dour, and
Abdel Wright, and "People", written by Dave Stewart and Jimmy Cliff, and
performed by Sting and Jimmy Cliff. This performance was followed by a series of
further ensemble and solo tracks written variously and collectively by Bono and
Dave Stewart, Queen, Mick Jones, Anastacia, The Neptunes, Johnny Clegg, and many
more well known artists.
The music is available throughout the world via telephone lines and the
website. In the UK, all telephone users
call a premium line using the number 09060 1 46664.
Partners: Tiscali, MTV's Staying Alive, Coca-Cola, BBC World Service, FedEx, Virgin
Atlantic, SABC, The Fleming Media Group, BMW, Arabella Sheraton Grand Hotel,
Communication Initiative websiteand
Staying Alive - Global
The Staying Alive partners have developed an AIDS media campaign to raise
awareness and promote prevention of HIV/AIDS in the international youth
community. While the internet is used to facilitate exchange and information
gathering year-round, the multi-tiered, multi-media campaign is launched as a
new installment each year around World AIDS Day (December 1). These campaigns
include celebrity involvement, public service announcements (PSAs), and on-air
and on-line products created rights-free for distribution to other TV/radio
partners. The Staying Alive campaign seeks to help prevent HIV/AIDS by
empowering individuals to protect themselves, fight stigma and discrimination,
and engage media and other organisations to form their own response to HIV/AIDS.
In brief, the Staying Alive campaign includes long-form programming (such as
documentaries, concert events, news specials, and discussion programmes), public
service announcements, sexual behaviour polls, a web site in 10 languages, and
off-air marketing and grassroots promotions. A key strategy underlying the
development of these media tools is celebrity involvement. In an effort to reach
the broadest global audience possible, all Staying Alive programming is
available free of charge and rights-free to all broadcasters.
Visitors to the website, which may be accessed in Chinese, Dutch, English,
French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, are invited to share their
personal experiences with, or other stories about, HIV/AIDS. Other features of
the site include facts and figures about HIV/AIDS, a survey, a form to submit
digital artwork to be included in on-air programming, and Staying Alive
screensavers. Youth participation in the yearly campaigns is encouraged through
such features as the yearly PSA competition.
Viacom, Inc. and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, other partners including
CNN, UNAIDS, the World Bank, the Kaiser Family Foundation, Family Health
International, UNFPA, and Sida.
The Communication Initiative website and
Staying Alive website
Saadhan HIV/AIDS Helpline - Mumbai, India
As part of its Operation Lighthouse Project, Population Services International (PSI) India runs a Saadhan Helpline for HIV/AIDS prevention in Mumbai, India. In
operation since December 2002, the helpline employs counselors who provide
information, support, and referrals. It also features customised software
designed to improve the communication with callers. Communication campaigns have
been developed to promote awareness of risk behaviours and its multiple
PSI selected a helpline as a tool to exchange information about HIV/AIDS because
they say it is a low-cost, anonymous, and confidential channel that offers
personalised interaction with a professional. This medium is especially helpful,
they say, in that the concept of talking freely to a doctor is not common in
Mumbai, especially about sex and HIV/AIDS. To compound information barriers,
people do not wish to be seen at places associated with HIV/AIDS due to
associated stigma. Telephones are widely accessible in Mumbai; in addition to
cellular phones and landlines, public phones are available nearly every 100
From January through May 2003, 5066 clients used the helpline, with an average
of 1000 callers per month. The majority of these callers were single males
between the ages of 21-30 years old, who often called to request information
about modes of HIV/AIDS transmission. The majority said that one of the
campaigns first alerted them to the existence of the helpline.
Partners: PSI, Naz Foundation, Elton John AIDS Foundation, USAID
The Communication Initiative website
For more information:
"The Saadhan Helpline: HIV/AIDS Information and
Counseling in Mumbai (A Case Study)" [PDF]
Mapping Malaria Risk in Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa carries the highest per capita burden of disease in the world
of which malaria is the single most important cause. Of global deaths attributed
to malaria 90% now occur in sub-Saharan Africa.
Detailed mapping of malaria risk and endemicity has never been done in Africa.
Accurate estimates of the burden of malaria at regional or district level remain
largely unknown. In the absence of such data it is impossible to rationalize
allocation of limited resources for malaria control.
The heart of the MARA programme is a massive information collection and
data-basing project that has to date over 10 000 data points that have been
collected from published and unpublished sources, through literature searches
and country visits. The intellectual and monetary value of the collated database
alone is hard to appreciate. It represents decades of malaria research in
Africa, much of which was on the verge of being lost and forgotten, and
certainly not being used. MARA/ARMA has provided the first continental maps of
malaria distribution and the first evidence-base burden of disease estimates.
There is currently hardly any major document on malaria in Africa that does not
make use of MARA maps and the BOD figures produced by MARA/ARMA are now
MARA/ARMA is at the cutting edge of, and has made significant steps forward in,
the geographical modelling of malaria using eco-physiological / climate / GIS
(geographical information systems), as well as spatial statistical approaches.
Highly original spatial statistical methods are being developed currently to
strengthen the analysis of the MARA/ARMA data.
MARA has made its results widely available through the regular publishing of
technical reports in English and French which are available on their website.
They also publish and regular update a large collection of maps demonstrating
the endemicity, density and seasonality of Malarial infections. Some 3000 poster
sized maps of malaria models and population distribution were produced and sent
to malaria control programmes, departments of health, and research institutions
in all endemic African countries. All the maps are readily available by
downloading them from the website and can act as invaluable resource tools.
It has also developed an innovative CD-ROM – the MARA LITe CD – which is a
user-friendly tool designed to access products of the MARA project. The tool was
developed and produced within the Malaria Research Programme of the South
African Medical Research Council, which operates as the main MARA/ARMA
Finally it is hoped that this collaboration serves as a model for other
large-scale disease information systems in Africa and in other developing
International Development Research Centre of Canada (IRDC), South African
medical Research Council, The Wellcome Trust – UK, Swiss Tropical Institute,
WHO, Multilateral initiative on Malaria, Roll Back Malaria
The Communication Initiative website
Hume Regional Broadband Digital
In 2002 Wodonga Regional Health Service (WRHS) implemented a Picture Archival
Communication System (PACS) to reduce the recurrent cost of film in providing
medical imaging (X-ray) services and to increase productivity of human (i.e.
radiologist and medical imaging technologist) and new digital imaging (General
X-ray) equipment.The successful implementation reduced recurrent operating costs
by 5% and increased productivity by around 20%- 30% - the self-funded capital
equipment payback time being six years.
The HRBDIProject is the third implementation of a rural multi-site, integrated
PACS/RIS platform in the world – the other two being based in rural Finland and
Norway.As such it is innovative for Victoria and reflective of the enabling
reach that broadband technology can have for rural communities.
The project is aiming to establish a regional broadband telecommunications
network and to deliver integrated digital imaging and radiology information
systems across that broadband platform.
Picture Archival Communication System (PACS) solution will manage digital images
so that those images are available to clinicians when and where they are
required and stored to ensure completeness of the patient’s image record. The
solution will substantially improve the speed of reporting, the throughput of
the imaging departments and reduce costs of film and associated chemicals. The
PACS will be managed through a series of binding Service Level Agreements
between key stakeholders.
Radiology Information System (RIS) solution will provide the operational support
to the three major public imaging services in North East Victoria and performs
the key functions of maintaining client data, scheduling patient services,
clinician reports, calling up the relevant digital image matched to the
patients’ image history (integration with PACS). The RIS will be delivered from
one site versus the current nine sites.
Partners: Wodonga Regional Health Service (WRHS), The Victorian Government, Hume region
public hospital medical imaging providers, other rural Health ICT Alliances
Impact Data - Radio Barkeol - Mauritania
A radio station was established in Mauritania to promote and support action on
health and development issues. The radio programmes was specially designed to
address Guinea Worm, which has a devastating impact on the economy of
communities. The station covers 3,000 square kilometers and targets 70,000
people. Half of the programmes are devoted to community issues such as health,
literacy, environment and economy. The remainder of the programmes provide local
music, news, radio games and religious shows. An innovative feature is that the
station runs from solar energy.
According to an independent evaluation in 1993, a long-term consequence of the
campaign is the significant reduction in number of cases of Guinea Worm as well
as an exponential increase in number of children fully immunized - five times
more immunizations. The programme contributed also to a better understanding of
how to prevent guinea worm (estimated at about 80% following the campaign).
Children's Health in
Since 1989 Dr. Fred
Binka and his staff have been conducting a project named
“Health Net Project”. It aims to improve the quality of life
in Northern Ghana. The Guinea Savannah of Northern Ghana is
possibly the most risky place to live during infancy. For
every 1,000 children born, 222 die before age 5. The most
common causes of death are malnutrition, measles, lung
infection and malaria.
Binka is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the
School of Public Health at the University of Ghana, and a
volunteer on this assignment. His Research Center is located
in Navrongo, a 12-hour drive from the capital Accra, linked
only by unreliable telephone lines. However, with funding
provided by several organizations, the Center is well
equipped with radio modem, computers and a satellite ground
station that permit communications and information exchange
through the Health Net Project. Dr. Binka explains, “We are
building a large database containing the names, ages,
pregnancies, births, illness, recoveries and deaths” of the
To educate the population and know
where to send this information, the Center uses Digital
Mapping. A device the size of a calculator uses satellites
to isolate landmarks such as family compounds. With a
computer map that shows where planning is being practiced,
the areas that require attention become obvious. Information
on screen reveals discrepancies better than numbers on
charts. For instance, half of the population not protected
by bed-nets treated with biodegradable insecticide are now
buying their own. As a result, malaria deaths in children
under 5 were reduced one-sixth in Ghana.
For Dr. Binka, the trial has been a
huge success. “They know they sleep better at night, they
are stronger on the farm and they get sick less often. What
further proof does a working man or woman need?”
MobiHealth – Europian Union
MobiHealth is a mobile healthcare project funded by the European Commission. The
MobiHealth consortium unites partners from five European countries and
represents all the relevant disciplines. Partners include hospitals and medical
service providers, universities, mobile network operators, mobile application
service providers and mobile infrastructure and hardware suppliers.
The MobiHealth system allows patients to be fully mobile whilst undergoing
health monitoring. The patients wear a lightweight monitoring system - the
MobiHealth BAN (Body Area Network), which is customised to their individual
health needs. Therefore, a patient who requires monitoring for short or long
periods of time doesn't have to stay in hospital for monitoring. With the
MobiHealth BAN the patient can be free to pursue daily life activities.
targets the introduction of new mobile value added services in the area of
health, based on 2.5 and 3G technologies. This will be done with the integration
of sensors and actuators, to a wireless Body Area Network.
These sensors and actuators will continuously measure and transmit vital
constants along with audio and video to health service providers and brokers,
improving from one side the quality of life of patients and allowing, from the
other side, the introduction of new value added services in the areas of disease
prevention, disease diagnosis, remote assistance, clinical research, para-health
services, physical state monitoring (sports) and even clinical research.
Mobihealth Services are based on GPRS and UMTS technologies for wireless
broadband data transfer. The introduction of these services is achieved by the
integration of sensors and actuators to a wireless Body Area Network (BAN).
Vital signals are measured and transmitted along with audio and video to
healthcare service providers.
full-cycle monitoring is enabled by the MobiHealth system allowing patients to
move and live freely minimizing the handicap of chronic diseases and aging. An
additional advantage of the services being its increased efficiency due to the
early alarm in case of need.
Partners: European Commission (funding), Ericsson Gmbh, University of Twente, TMS
Internationa BV, Medish Spectrum Twente, CMG Wireless Data Solutions BV, Lulea
Teksinska Universitet, Telia Mobile AB, GesundheitScout24 GmbH, YUCAT Mobile, HP
Nederland, PHILIPS Research Laboratories, Corporacio Sanitaria Clinic,
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Telefonica Moviles Espana, etc.
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
website of the activity
Pervasive poverty and a lack of medical facilities in developing countries
render large portions of Africa and Asia exposed to diseases like malaria,
influenza and severe diarrhoea that disproportionately kill the youngest and most
WorldSpace thought to employ bold new methods to face an enormous
Imagine hundreds of
physicians in remote settlements across Africa getting medical advisories via a
compact receiver that gets programs directly from a satellite in space. Picture
daily bulletins on diagnostic techniques going to clinics throughout India and
Pakistan, even in areas where internet service is sporadic or nonexistent. The
far-flung clinics use a small, inexpensive device that gets satellite
transmissions and downloads the information to a personal computer.
millions of people across Africa and Asia using satellite radio to get
information about nutrition, hygiene and practices to stop the spread of
HIV/AIDS. Receivers for this system - identical those used by the physician in
the Serengeti and clinics in India and Pakistan - would be inexpensive, easy to
operate and would run off mains power, batteries or even solar cells.
CLASS - Combined
Live Audio and Slide Show
CLASS is an innovative
solution developed to leverage the capabilities of the WorldSpace system for
distance education in developing countries. The CLASS service from WorldSpace is
unique in its ability to economically merge content creation and delivery to
vast territories. It uses the WorldSpace system to provide error-free digital
transmission of presentations, lesson plans and other multimedia material.
facilitates a smooth integration of media to support education across vast
territories. The result is an array of valuable capabilities:
Delivering the lectures with accompanying PowerPoint
presentations directly so students' PCs (direct-to-home,
or schools) at a scheduled time
Enabling students to hear live commentary from the best
teachers while following associated presentations and
getting real-time updates as the teacher works through
Enabling students with internet access to ask questions
via text chat or VoIP
Delivering presentations, lessons plans and other
multimedia materials to students, thus complementing and
expanding the classtoom lecture
Besides CLASS delivery,
the WorldSpace system, of course, provides digital audio with fade-free,
crystal-clear reception across vast territories. Reception requires a WorldSpace
radio. These units are reasonably priced and available from vendors throughout
Africa and Asia.
Partners: WorldSpace Corporation
Bytes for all website and
the website of the activity
Healthy Russia 2020
In 2002, the stakeholders launched Healthy Russia 2020, a five-year programme
using networking and web-based efforts to help Russian institutions improve the
health of their people. Health indices for Russia have declined sharply over the
last decade in large part due to unhealthy lifestyle behaviours.
ASI will support JHU/CCP on "Healthy Russia 2020" by designing an
portal to promote healthy behaviors across the Eurasian country. ASI will
design, deploy and assist in maintaining the internet-based portal, which will
be built in the first year for use by citizens, policy makers, health-care
administrators, health professionals and other stakeholders. The portal will
give users an online platform in which they can obtain information and
collaborate on solutions to numerous health issues. It will be created in
English and Russian and will also allow users to exchange ideas on a variety of
Goals of the project include promoting healthier lifestyles for young Russians,
reducing HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), controlling the
spread of tuberculosis (TB), and improving the health of women and infants.
One of the main tools is a dynamic Web Portal that uses proven techniques to
serve a wide range of interactive users. The web portal will facilitate and
reinforce behavioural changes (for instance various drug and alcohol prevention
programs) as well as URGE peers to access and share health information and
advocacy tools; serve as a locus for distance education; attract members; and
mobilize collective action.
beneficiaries include Russian youth, women of reproductive age, infants,
children, and the public. Indirect beneficiaries include the Federal and
regional administrations, health policy-makers, health care administrators and
providers, secondary school teachers, advocacy groups and NGOs.
JHU/CCP, the Futures Group International, ASI, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Project
HOPE, International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), the Centre for
Association Leadership, the American Red Cross, the Public Health Foundation,
and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). The U.S. Agency for
International Development (USAID) is funding the project.
ASI won a $8 Million award as Global Leader in Application of Technology for
Health Communications by The Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communications
Programs (JHU/CCP) for implementing Healthy Russia 2020 and create web portal
for INFO Project.
The Communication initiative website and
Internet-Based Tobacco Control
Network - Czech Republic
Initially the goal was to build up a media advocacy program forming an
internet-based network comprising health professionals from Czech DITs, heart
disease-prevention NGOs other professionals concerned with tobacco-control.
Finally the outcome of the different activities was even more comprehensive:
A self-sustaining Tobacco-Control Training and Communications Program promoting
excellence in communications technology, and regional, national and
international linkage and outreach
Targeted information technology and skills transfer
workshops and a Tobacco-Control Conference conducted at
the project hub and in various districts of the Czech
A demand-based resource service on tobacco control equipped with high-quality
resource materials for the internet and computerized database and research
capabilities that cater to requests
The development of a comprehensive data collection
system to support program operations and pre- and
post-surveys of knowledge, skills and applications among
the participating organizations to assess program impact
Continuous electronic-media tobacco-control campaigns, which increasingly engage
more groups in Czech society in tobacco control.
A website with an electronic bulletin board, resource
directory, and "What's New" listing. See the homepage at
Czech Ministry's National Institute of Public Health's
website for up-to-date reports on current events
Monthly electronic bulletins with nationwide and
The establishment of an advocacy NGO dedicated to reducing tobacco use and the
prevention of cardiovascular disease - the
Czech Heart Association (CHA)
Health professionals, broader audience
The World Bank, Centre for Communications, Health & Environment (CECHE) - USA,
Institute for Clinical & Experimental Medicine (IKEM) - Czech, National
Institute of Public Health (NIPH) - Czech, UICC-GLOBALink - Geneva, the National
Centre for Tobacco-Free Kids & the Advocacy Institute, Financed by the
International Bank for Reconstruction & Development-infoDev Trust Grant.
The Communication Initiative website
US group launches
online medical record program
The Initiative launched in 2005 is a health information resource
with a great potential in terms of efficiency, in case of emergency or just when
changing the GP. The new system allows patients to see, change and share
medical records on the internet with a service launched today by a company set
up by a coalition of professional medical groups.
called iHealthRecord, will let patients control their own records, while
allowing doctors vital access when they need it, eventually reducing the risks
of mistakes such as prescribing errors. They also hope it could provide a way
for doctors and patients to replace thick medical charts and swap information
without the need for costly and time-consuming office visits.
The system is
being provided by Medem Inc, an online medical services company set up in 1999
by medical societies such as the American Medical Association, American
Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics.
"We believe that
electronic personal health records are an important service for physicians and
patients, and a key element of the national information technology
infrastructure," said Dr James Rohack, chairman of the American Medical
groups backing the iHealthRecord, which include the American Heart Association
and American Cancer Society, said it could be a first step to transforming the
ponderous and mistake-prone paper-based US medical records system into an
efficient, digital structure.
we know these systems will reduce medical errors and save lives," Rohack
asserted. "It doesn't matter whether (patients) move, switch health plans or
At present, vital medical information is now not available
to emergency workers leading to a number of complications, constraints or
service is free to patients who access it directly via the internet at
www.ihealthrecord.org. Doctors, hospitals
and medical groups will pay for the system, with a maximum charge of $US25 per
month per patient, plus a charge for each email consultation made using the
system. The password-protected service prompts a patient to enter medical
details in a "check-the-box" format similar to the clipboards used now in
doctors and dentists' offices. Patients can also record details of their
prescriptions, health insurance and physicians.
Medem hopes to lure doctors to
join by providing a way to offer extra services to patients with little effort.
choose to manage their own records. And the system is designed to minimize the
risks that hackers could view patient records.
control the record. They decide who can see it and who cannot," Fotsch said. To
remind, there have been several cases of hackers getting into computer-based
medical records – for instance at the University of Washington Medical Centre in
2001. However, the new system is encrypted and said anyone who opens a file
leaves electronic "fingerprints" that the patient can see.
there is a tiny probability that patients could falsify online records if they
wish, or create phony profiles, even if the real risk is being very law.
For more detailed
Community Radio: The
survived the arrival of newer media, it is evident that
radio will always be one of the cheapest and most effective
ways to dispense information widely. Information exchange
between radio stations takes it one step further.
2002, grassroots communities in Africa had the opportunity
to share stories on the communities coping with HIV-AIDS
through an internet-based programme swap. The story swap was
one of the World Association of Community Broadcasters’ (AMARC)
exchange projects set up to enable community radio stations
to share experiences and learn from each other. Information
exchange—though basic—has a deep impact on society. Isolated
Maasai communities in Northern Tanzania had an opportunity
to talk openly about the stigma and discrimination against
HIV-AIDS-infected people. The discussion was significant for
a community whose knowledge about the disease is largely
based on hearsay and has led to the alienation of HIV
positive people. The broadcast of a Ugandan businessman
whose life was changed by the disease puts a human face to
the disease, helping to raise awareness among others.
Discussions such as the one on HIV-AIDS open up the
communities’ thinking and facilitate social change.
AMARC is an international
non-profit organization, born as a movement in 1983 and
formalized in 1988, which supports and serves community
radio broadcasters around the world. There are more than
2000 AMARC members across all five continents.
For more detailed
Satellife PDA Project - Uganda
The goal of the SATELLIFE PDA Project was to demonstrate the viability of
handheld computers -- also called Personal Digital Assistants or PDAs -- for
addressing the digital divide among health professionals working in Africa.
Started for the first time at the end of 2001, the project uses affordable
technologies to link health professionals in developing countries to each other
and to reliable sources of information, including modem-to-modem telephone links
and the internet by using geostationary satellites.
The organisers believe Information and communications technology (ICT) can play
an important role in combating disease and improving healthcare. The project
used ICT as a tool to collect community health information to support
decision-making; improving doctors' access to current medical information;
linking healthcare professionals so they could share information and knowledge;
and enhancing health administration, remote diagnostics, and distribution of
The project-explored questions related to the selection and design of
appropriate, affordable technology and locally relevant content for use in
African healthcare environment, specifically targeted at assessing the
usefulness of the PDA for data collection and information dissemination.
Physicians, medical officers, and medical students tested the PDA in the context
of their daily work environments in order to gain a perspective on the real
issues that affect the adoption of technology.
The PDA used was the Handspring Visor Neo, with a 33 MHz DragonBall VZ
microprocessor from Motorola, a Palm operating system (Palm OS), and 8 MB of
main memory. Pendragon Forms v3.1 was the software programme used to create the
survey forms. Country-specific drug lists and treatment guidelines were obtained
by Satellife in hard copy or electronic formats and adapted to a PDA-accessible
format. Medical texts were obtained from Skyscape.
The Project was conducted in three phases. Satellife first put the handheld
computers to use for field surveys, by linking this project to a widespread
measles immunisation campaign being conducted in Ghana by the American Red Cross
(ARC) in December 2001. The Satellife-Arc joint effort used 30 PDAs in a
short-term survey intended to determine the efficacy of the measles immunisation
campaign outreach efforts and collect some baseline health information. The
Uganda phase tested the use and usefulness of 40 PDAs by medical practitioners
to conduct an epidemiological survey on malaria, and to access and use medical
reference tools and texts. The Kenya phase tested the use and usefulness of 40
PDAs by students to collect field survey information, and to access and use
medical reference tools and texts as part of their studies.
This project was inspired and led by SATELLIFE, a non-profit 501(c)(3)
organisation based in Massachusetts, USA. SATELLIFE's mission is to improve
health in the world's poorest nations through the innovative use of ICT.
Health professionals in Ghana, Uganda and Kenya
Partners: SATELLIFE, the American Red Cross; Makerere University Medical School in
Kampala, Uganda; HealthNet Uganda; Moi University Faculty of Health Sciences in
Eldoret, Kenya; and the Indiana University Kenya Program, Acumen Fund
Sexual Abuse Centre in Christchurch – New Zealand
The Sexual Abuse Centre is a Not-for-Profit organisation supporting Rape and
Incest survivors, both female and male, throughout the Canterbury, New Zealand
region. It is an established entity of the not-for-profit sector since 1991.
Developing a website has brought many unexpected benefits for the Sexual Abuse
Centre in Christchurch and has made them part of a global network of service
providers to survivors of sexual abuse. The Sexual Abuse Centre is a place of
counseling and support with a focus on healing and thriving and the website
reflects this vocation. It reveals as a mainstream tool to access information by
people and for the centre as a quick, efficient and effective tool with
important potential to disseminate written material quickly and to a wider
The website has a
feedback page to ascertain that provided information is useful or not to people.
It showed that it has been well utilized, not only by New Zealanders but by
survivors and other allied professionals throughout the world.
Throughout the working process, a need occurred to establish relationships with
other professionals in other parts of the world. The Centre
is involved closely with the FBI around child
protection and child abuse issues and have had a number of US survivor’s cases
resolved by the FBI’s intervention. The competent staff has worked with a number
of people around legal issues pertinent to their country, particularly in the
UK, and has contacts to help them do that. The website has also helped and
assisted allied professionals with information and support in setting up
survivor based programmes & groups in such areas of the world as Indonesia,
Africa and Europe.
The website has been assessed by the centre people as an incredibly useful tool
for their work. “ … it has made our small world here in Christchurch truly part
of a global community providing the highest quality services to survivors of
sexual abuse and rape no matter what part of the world they are in.”,
ascertain the centre staff.
Victims of sexual abuse
Sexual Abuse Centre
the website of the activity
CommunityNet Aotearoa website
constant flow of information throughout the world has made
it easier for physicians to diagnose a variety of illnesses
and identify new treatments for a multitude of diseases.
This information, which is collected in massive databases,
has given both physicians and patients access to more
information about health improvement and risk assessment.
The Bolivian Familial Cancer Database is one such
international database that allows physicians to compare and
contrast tumor and non-tumor features of a person’s genetic
makeup with existing database entries. This interactive
database already contains over 300 entries and is updated
regularly. Another similar site administered by Harvard
University allows users to calculate their risk of getting
cancer free of charge. Overall, ICTs and access to the
global information network are allowing citizens around the
world better prepare for and treat cancer and other
AIDS Prevention Information Centre Programme (API-net) - Japan
This Programme was established in 1999 in order to provide various information
about HIV/AIDS such as prevention, VCT, treatment, new drug, event activities,
guideline set by government for HIV/AIDS patients, their family members, general
population and medial suppliers. Japanese Foundation for AIDS prevention has
executed this programme committed by Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare,
Japanese Government. It includes the plan for setting up information providing
system and the collection, organization and announcement of various information
for HIV/AIDS via internet service. The information provided by this programme
are general knowledge for HIV/AIDS, up-to-date reports of HIV/AIDS research,
guidance and addresses of AIDS treatment designated hospitals, guidance for
government or non-government services for HIV/AIDS.
Target group :AIDS Victims and vulnerable & high-risk categories of people
WSIS Stocktaking Database and
the website of the activity
Leprosy Awareness Campaign – Brazil
Brazil has the second highest number of cases of leprosy in the world. In 2003,
the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) commissioned the BBC World Service Trust to
conduct a national
radio andtelevision hanseniase (leprosy) awareness campaign in Brazil. Three
TV spots and 10radio spots were broadcast during the month-long campaign, which ran
in February 2003. The campaign, which urged people to seek
free treatment at
public health centres, was backed by Brazil's Minister of Health, who has
pledged to reduce leprosy inBrazil by 2005.
The campaign, which was carried by all 13 major TV networks and some 2300 radio
stations, emphasised three key messages: leprosy symptoms can be recognised;
leprosy can be treated and cured; and a person undergoing treatment can continue
to have a normal life while being treated (he or she is not contagious).
A survey of 1000 people was conducted to evaluate the campaign during March
2003. Five sites - across all Brazilian regions - were selected from the
Brazilian Ministry of Health’s list of priority areas for leprosy control.
Globo, SBT, Bandeirantes and Rede TV!, reported broadcasting the campaign TV
spots more than 7000 times nationally. In addition, over 2300 radio stations
across Brazil were given the campaign spots. TV campaign was more effective than
radio reaching 60% of respondents, radio reached just 4%.
During the one-month campaign, the Telehansen information hotline offered by
Reintegration Movement of People Affected by Leprosy (MORHAN, or Movimento de
Reintegração das Pessoas Atingidas pela Hanseníase) received more than 10,000
calls. This was an average of 387 calls per day during the campaign, an increase
from an average 14 calls per day in January prior to the campaign.
BBC World Service Trust, Brazil's Ministry of Health, Reintegration Movement of
People Affected by Leprosy (MORHAN, or Movimento de Reintegração das Pessoas
Atingidas pela Hanseníase), Pastoral da Crianca, and major broadcasters
including Globo, SBT, Rede TV!, and Bandeirantes, funding by WHO
BBC World Service Trust website and
The Communication Initiative website
For more information:
Executive Summary of Brazil Leprosy Campaign
Evaluation, 2003 [PDF]
Twende na Wakati, Radio Drama on Health and Family Planning Issues – Tanzania
Family planning is an innovation that many individuals in Tanzania consider
highly sensitive, and something which involves preventative behaviour. This
results in family planning motivation are generally weak. The introduction of an
entertainment-education radio soap opera in Tanzania attempted to change
attitudes and behaviour in a positive direction while providing health
information on other issues such as HIV/AIDS.
Serialised radio drama which began in July 1993, and was broadcast twice weekly
slmost nationwide. The soap opera rewarded positive behaviours and punished
negative behaviour consistently, but also kept the drama highly entertaining and
emotional to keep listenership high. Epilogues summarized each episode to
reinforce educational messages.
An evaluation led in 1995 showed that:
88 percent of people listening reported that they learned about family planning;
86 percent said they learned about HIV/AIDS prevention; and 76 per cent said
they learned about spousal communication.
Favorable attitudes to family planning increased by 5 per cent from 1993 to 1995
[69 per cent to 74 per cent] in the treatment area and decreased by 6 per cent
(1993:82 per cent; 1995:76 per cent) in the control area.
23 per cent of the listeners said they adopted family planning as the result of
listening to "Twende na Wakati"
Married female respondents in the treatment area reporting use of a family
planning method increased from 25 per cent (1993) to 33 per cent (1995);
compared with a decrease in the control area from 51 per cent (1993) to 46
82% of listeners in 1995 said that they adopted an HIV/AIDS prevention behaviour
because of; listening to "Twende". This was a 10 point rise from 72% in 1994
77 per cent of those who adopted safer sex reduced their number of sexual
partners; 16 per cent began using condoms; 6 per cent stopped sharing razors
and/or needles. 61% of listeners reported discussing HIV/AIDS issues raised in
'Twende' with friends (55 %); spouse (37%); other individuals (8%)
Family Life Education Programme of the Ministry of
Community Development, Women Affairs and Children, Ministry of
Health, Population Communication International; UNFPA;
Department of Communication and Journalism at
University of New Mexico
The Communication Initiative website
"Effects of an Entertainment-Education Radio Soap Opera on Family Planning
and HIV/AIDS Prevention Behaviour in Tanzania" by Rogers, Vaughan, Swalehe, Rao,
Svenkerud, Sood and Alford
Telemedicine in LDCs
virtual doctors to videoconference consultations and
digitized medical records, telemedicine is a relatively
inexpensive and hugely beneficial option for the developing
world. By bringing together global health care and
telecommunications experts, less developed countries are now
capable of providing 21st century medical care to
their marginalized communities. In Mozambique, for
instance, ITU helped the government establish a network
between central hospitals in two of the country’s biggest
cities, Maputo (the national capital) and Beira. This link
allows doctors in each city to confer with each other and
share medical records to ensure that patients in their
respective cities get the best possible care. The hospital
in Beira now has instant access to radiologists located in
the capital city, which has significantly improved patient
care. Similar telemedicine projects with which ITU is
involved are currently under way, inter alia, in
Senegal, Uganda and Ukraine.
AIDSWEB Project - Africa
Launched in 1998, the AIDSWEB project is an effort to offer secondary-school
students training and access to technology as well as accurate information about
HIV/AIDS. The project provide also guidance in initiating and sustaining action
to combat the disease through national and cross-national partnerships. The
project, which addresses 13- to 18-year olds in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, South
Africa, Uganda, the USA, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, is designed to complement
existing Ministry of Education and NGO HIV/AIDS education prevention campaigns.
The project also works to increase the quantity and quality of HIV/AIDS
educational materials in schools. A CD-ROM with HIV/AIDS-related information
drawn from existing online material was produced for schools with slow or no
internet connections. In addition, efforts have been made to help adapt locally
produced print-based HIV/AIDS educational material for electronic dissemination
via CD-ROM and the
AIDSWEB site. Training materials designed
to integrate computer and internet literacy training material with HIV/AIDS
examples were delivered by ICT for Education-trained teachers to
HIV/AIDS-oriented NGOs and peer educators accessing the school-based telecentres
in the after-school hours.
Impact Data about the project was collected in 2002 showed that AIDSWEB
currently serves approximately 500 youth in 70 schools in 8 African countries.
Students who were not in the programme were almost 6 times more likely to have
less than 1 hour of computer access in the previous month. In the intervention
group, 51% reported having more than 4 hours of computer access in the previous
month compared to 23% in the control group. In the previous month, 35% of
control respondents reported no computer access; 6% in the intervention group
reported no access.
AIDSWEB students were almost twice as likely to correctly identify all 4 methods
of AIDS prevention and transmission. These results were consistent across
countries, except for Uganda (a country that, according to evaluators, has
well-established programmes in HIV/AIDS education and youth development).
63% in the control group and 85% of the intervention group responded that they
helped their communities by sharing information about HIV/AIDS with family,
friends, and/or health workers about HIV/AIDS; volunteering with local
organisations or health clinics/hospitals; or developing a social action plan.
AIDSWEB students were similar to students outside the programme in their choices
of social action, but AIDSWEB students were more than twice as likely to develop
social action plans.
ICT for Education (part of the World Bank Institute), World Links, iEARN,
Schools Online, Education Development Center, Knowledge Economy (part of the
World Bank), SchoolNet Uganda, The United Negro College Fund's Specials Projects
programme, US Department of State's Bureau of Educational Cultural Affairs and
Microsoft. AIDSWEB involves schools in Ghana, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe; Botswana,
Kenya, Nigeria, the US, and Zambia.
The Communication Initiative website
For more information:
the AIDSWEB site
"Evaluation Report of WBIHD's ICT for Education AIDSWEB Project" (prepared
by ENCOMPASS LLC, November 23, 2002)
Fighting HIV with Anti-Spam Tools
The great similarity between how spam works and how HIV cells mutate in the
human body has allowed researchers to use Microsoft's machine learning and data
mining algorithms to analyze the virus's genetic sequences.
Spam-filtering technology may soon save millions of lives, thanks
to the technology’s potential use in developing a vaccine to fight the deadly
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Researchers are at present conducting in
vitro tests of HIV vaccine models developed using Microsoft's anti-spam
software, according to Kevin Schofield, general manager, Microsoft Research in
The great similarity between how spam works and how HIV cells
mutate in the human body has allowed researchers to use Microsoft's machine
learning and data mining algorithms to analyze the virus's genetic sequences.
The purpose was to identify patterns within the genetic mutations of the virus
and the patient's immune system, according to Schofield.
These patterns are then used to create vaccine designs that have
more HIV-fighting genetic markers. In a very similar way, anti-spam software
detects patterns, such as common words or phrases, enabling it to identify
legitimate e-mails and prevent spam from getting into the system, said
Using Microsoft's data mining technology, researchers were able
to search through millions of HIV strains and find genetic patterns more
efficiently than previous methods, according to documents obtained from
Aside from anti-spam technology, the researchers also relied on
other software algorithms used for database management and compressing digital
"These Microsoft Research technologies weren't initially
conceived as medical research tools, but they may prove critical to the ongoing
battle to slow down or halt HIV and other deadly viruses," said Dr. James
Mullins, professor at UW's department of microbiology.
The World Health Organization has reported that AIDS has claimed
the lives of nearly 30 million people worldwide. Forty million people today have
HIV and close to five million are infected each year.
joint initiative between Microsoft Research, the University of
Washington (UW) in Seattle, and the Royal Perth Hospital in Australia; since
other partners have adhered, including Massachusetts General Hospital and the
University of Toronto
IT World Canada
(26 May 2005)
AIC Rural Communication Project in Kenya -
Radio Drama and Radio Magazines on Economic and Social Development Issues
A highly successful and impactive radio project which used two radio soap operas
and two radio magazines to broadcast information on a range of important issues.
There was a focus on reaching rural areas. The soap operas used entertainment to
reach audiences, and the magazines were primarily focussed on information.
Inventive and professional programming based on extensive and careful
Participatory Rural Appraisal research resulted in a very effective campaign.
Radio broadcasts of radio soap operas took place in Ndinga Nacio (in Kimeru),
and Tembea Na Majira (in Kiswahili), and radio magazines: Mugi Ni Mwere (in
Kimeru) and Sikizia Uerevuke (in Kiswahili).
Among listeners in 1996, almost 25% claimed to have applied the information
gained from the programmes including, relating harmoniously with other family
members (23% male and 25% female), use of better farming methods (22% male and
19% female) and keeping surroundings clean (15% male and 11% female). 47% of
listeners said that they had put some knowledge gained from the soap opera into
practice, i.e. 1/5 of the population. 28% of magazine listeners claimed to have
put some of its information into practice. The two most commonly claimed
applications were horticultural techniques and moral advice.
Agriculture Information Center (AIC) is part of the Ministry of Agriculture of
Kenya. Kenya Broadcasting Centre, Air-time sponsored by commercial companies,
The Media Trust, UK government, East Africa Industries
The communication Initiative website
SPU New Initiatives Programme
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