This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
The United Nations is seeking to improve
electronic communication for health workers in Africa. Workers in rural areas would
have a better way to get training, information and advice from doctors hundreds
or even thousands of kilometers away.
two thousand five, the World Health Assembly passed a resolution urging
countries to plan for "eHealth" services. The idea is to look for
ways to use modern information and communications technologies to strengthen
The World Health Organization says Africa is behind
other parts of the world in treating H.I.V./AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. So
the United Nations Economic and Social Council is supporting the expansion of
telecommunications technology for health care workers.
Telemedicine is another
term for eHealth.
Pedersen is the director of the Norwegian Center for Telemedicine at the University
Hospital of North Norway. Doctor Pedersen is working with the W.H.O. He
recently met with West African health officials in the Ghanaian capital, Accra.
He says the technology can provide easier access to medical specialists and
make it easier for people to seek medical information themselves.
Sory is the director general of health services in Ghana. He says eHealth will
offer a way to reduce the effects of health worker shortages and make it easier
to train existing workers. Doctor Sory says the technology will also make it
easier for doctors at Ghana's main teaching hospital, Korle Bu, to share their
ELIAS SORY: "If you get a doctor who is away in
the village and has come across a case he or she thinks is beyond him or her,
why cannot that doctor be able to link up easily with a senior doctor in Korle
Bu to get advice on it? So we are not there. But eHealth will get us there.
"The other thing is that medicine is dynamic. Why
cannot we use that to train? We do not need all people to come to Korle Bu in
order to be upgraded in knowledge; eHealth can bridge that gap. And to me
medical education is even one of the most important ingredients in
must be shaped to fit each country's health care needs and level of technological
development. Another issue is patient privacy. The hope is that health
ministries will together develop policies on collecting and storing electronic
health information about individuals.
that's the VOA Special English Health Report. Transcripts, MP3s and archives of
our reports can be found at voaspecialenglish.com, where you can also post
comments. I'm Steve Ember.