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Capacity Building for Developing Countries

Submitted by Asfaw Ayalew | 10 Dec, 2015

Capacity building is one way to incentivize health care providers. They need and want to be abreast of medical advancement. But, here comes the disparity. Health care workers (HCWs) in developing countries, most of the time, are technologically disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in developed countries. It is a well-known fact that Information Communication technology (ICT) has advanced health service delivery to a large extent. The next rational strategy would be to employ ICT-enhanced health care service delivery at a global scale, in order to satisfy clients as well as HCWs, wherever they are.

In this line, I would suggest:
Setting up a Virtual University, in which HCWs from around the globe can get a 24/7 free access. This extraordinary university could:
Be equipped with virtual library consisting of audio-visual materials,e-books, peer-reviewed journals,etc
Enable continuing medical education, with certification, to needy HCWs in all medical specialties/sub-specialties
Facilitate expert consultation, in case of encountering complicated clinical cases

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Maggie Sullivan Advisor Replied at 12:54 PM, 11 Dec 2015

This is an accurate statement about what is lacking in low/middle-income countries (LMICs) and, as a result, what might incentivize providers there. Internet connectivity/access is like gold and information is like gold. Have free access to both would impact the culture of practice, quality of care and access to care for millions of people. How to make this happen - this is a quagmire that would like require legislation. First, providing 24/7 internet access to remote/rural areas is logistically very difficult. Second, many large corporations have enormous financial investments in their near-monopolies of providing internet access in LMICs. While this is an excellent idea, I would love to hear more about the implementation. In the end, entire countries and corporations may be the ones that need to be incentivized to help make this happen.

Monique Germain Replied at 5:40 PM, 14 Dec 2015

Maggie,
You are right, the transnational corporationsshould be the ones to provide the way to jumpstart, promote, build, and sustain the spread of information through technology as their profits depend on it. And I do not believe that it is not an achievable objective. It is just that the people from the North need to adress these issues.

Asfaw Ayalew Replied at 4:50 AM, 15 Dec 2015

Let me clarify my idea further; I am not suggesting any company to provide 24/7 internet access to each country. No!
What I am after is a virtual university, with a dedicated high-capacity server within the Harvard, that CAN BE ACCESSED from around the world. For your information, LMICs are fast progressing in expanding their internet infrastructures-just for their own sake. For example in Ethiopia, apart from the widely available 3G,the telecom company has launched the Fourth Generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) service as of March, 2015.The same is happening in other LMICs.
Given the institutional integrity of Harvard University, the adequacy of the Common wealth fund, & availability of world-class ICT experts, I don’t think this task is particularly hard to implement.
Forward this idea to the information and communication scientists at Harvard; believe me, they have all the answers!

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