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Examining eHealth in Africa

02 April 2013

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African eHealth initiatives are leading the way towards higher standards of living and health on the Continent. With eLearning Africa 2013 set to subject eHealth to a detailed examination, the news service explored a few initiatives that offer a promising prognosis for Africa’s health sector, writes Matthew Labrooy.

Whether they are collating data on disease, monitoring health trends, combating misinformation or facilitating cooperation between medical centres, African eHealth initiatives are leading the way towards higher standards of health.

eHealth is becoming more relevant to regional needs in Africa by addressing local issues associated with the paucity of medical centres in rural areas. However, there is uncertainty as to whether the current eHealth model will be as effective on a larger scale. A recent study found that the major challenges for eHealth in Africa are:

“The complexity of ensuring interoperability and integration of information systems and securing privacy of information… [and finding] sustainable financing required for large-scale use of mobile phone technology in resource-limited settings.” (1)

Nevertheless, it is clear that eHealth initiatives are urgently required, as found in a second report into the effectiveness of such mobile initiatives:

“Many of these deadly conditions are relatively simple to treat, prevent or contain… For HIV patients, simple weekly text reminders have consistently shown higher adherence amongst the patients.”(2)

In addition, the report found that SMS reminders sent to health centres to monitor stock levels have shown positive results in reducing the risk of malaria, TB and HIV medication shortages.

Indeed, initiatives involving mobile phones such as m4RH, eMOCHA and Text to Change have shown encouraging results and the potential for scalability.

Click here for more.

SOURCE: eLearning Africa


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