The Promise of eHealth in the African Region
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Republic of the Congo, September 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Most African patients making repeat visits to a hospital or to their doctor are likely to have had at least one similar experience: they routinely see their doctor or other hospital staff digging through stacks of ancient manila files in search of handwritten notes of their medical records. The patients will even be lucky if their files are found with complete information.
Must this decades-old practice continue in this information age?
“No”, says Dr Derege Kebede, head of the African Health Observatory (AHO) and Knowledge Management Unit at the WHO Regional Office for Africa Office (WHO/AFRO) in Brazzaville, Congo. “A solution already exists: electronic health or eHealth – countries and people in our region should embrace, promote and intensify the use of eHealth.”
WHO defines eHealth as ‘the cost-effective and secure use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for health and health-related purposes’. Improvements in information and telecommunications infrastructure and the growing realization of the usefulness of fast means of communication are slowly turning Africa into part of the global village.