A collection of online resources

More on ICT and Health

Last URL verifications: August 2005.

Disseminating health information in developing countries: the role of the internet

"During a visit to India in March President Clinton watched a woman enter a village health centre, call up a web page on the computer, and get information on how to care for her baby.1 It is possible that this baby will have better health because of the availability of information on the internet. However, this possibility is underpinned by several assumptions, and the potential of information and communication technologies still has not been harnessed systematically to bring about important improvements in the health of populations, particularly among those who are poor and isolated in developing countries."

Tessa Tan-Torres Edejer, WHO, in: BMJ 2000;321:797-800

Impact of Telecommuncations in health care and other social services

"There is a need to bridge the gap between the telecommunication and health-care communities at all levels; consequently, the ITU and WHO should further enhance their links and collaboration as well as promote collaboration between their respective constituencies and to identify solutions to meet health-care needs, especially in remote and rural areas, for those on the move and for those who might not otherwise have access to the quality of care available in urban hospitals.

Recommendation SG 2/6-98
World Telecommunication Development Conference, Valletta, 1998


More on ICT and Development


The challenge

"Information and communication technology (ICT) is transforming the global economy and creating new networks that cross cultures as well as great distances. But access to and use of these technologies remains extremely uneven. This disparity - the so-called "digital divide" - is, in large part, a reflection of deeper social and economic inequalities both between and within countries. And market forces, while the primary driver for ICT deployment, will not alone close the global digital divide."

UNDP Thematic Trust Fund Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Development www.undp.org/trustfunds/TTF-ICTe.PDF

Spanning the Digital Divide
Understanding and tackling the issues

"This report reviews some of the basic facts about ICT access and use, and provides an extensive list of resources for further information. It goes on to examine the major approaches to the problems, describing the various on-the-ground initiatives and considering government policies that play a role. It reflects on what is working best and what is failing -- and why. Finally, it illustrates the key elements necessary for integrating technology into society in an effective, sustainable way so that people can put technology to use to improve their lives: what we call "real access" to technology."


ICT stories from the Field


Sustainable ICT Solutions. A checklist

"ICTs are not a 'quick technological fix' for the world's problems. Rather they can offer benefits in specialised areas - by giving access to information; by enabling the rapid dissemination of information; and by giving people and communities access to those with power and influence."



ICT Top Ten Websites


"Bellanet helps the international community to work together more effectively, especially using information and communication technologies (ICTs)." (Mission Statement).


"The ItrainOnline initiative aims to assist civil society organisations (CSOs) and other development actors in developing countries to confront the challenges posed by new information and communications technologies (ICTs). In seeking to overcome skills gaps in development, it connects people and know-how with the needs of ICT learners and trainers."


"The channel, we hope, will do just that: empowering practitioners, community leaders, policymakers and academics with the tools and information they need to utilize ICTs for improving quality of life around the world."


"The Communication Initiative is a partnership of development organisations seeking to support advances in the effectiveness and scale of communication interventions for positive international development."


ICT Top Ten Websites: The International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) assists developing countries to realise locally - owned sustainable development by harnessing the potential of information and communication technologies (ICTs).


The UNDP Sustainable Development Networking Programme.


The International Telecommunication Union‘s Telecommunication Development Sector.


Resources on the digital divide from the United States.


"To build healthier communities in developing countries through the power of Information Technology."



More on... Access to Health Information


A flood of material from the rich to the poor?

"Healthcare workers in the developing world have for years had the problem of very limited access to the latest information. Ironically, they might quickly have the problem of healthcare workers in the developed world of being overwhelmed with material of low quality and limited relevance. Providing free access to material is only one part of what is needed to improve the use of health information in the developing world. Initiatives are also necessary among those in the developing world to increase their own capacity to distil, package, present, and disseminate not only the material originating from the rich world but also their own material. Publishers and editors from the rich world should be able to help."

BMJ editorial by Richard Smith and Alex Williamson: BMJ journals free to the developing world. In: BMJ 2002; 324: 380. http://bmj.com/cgi/content/full/324/7334/380

AfriAfya: Health Information and Health Education in Rural Kenya

"For AfriAfya it is important that this is not a top-down system that dumps information on communities. AfriAfya's communication network is designed to be a 2-way communication. AfriAfya wants to find out what communities already know, how they communicate, and what more information they want".

A presentation for the Health Information Forum, 22nd January 2002, By Chris Wood and Caroline Nyamai, www.inasp.info/health/hif-afriafya.html

Health InterNetwork Access to Research Initiative

A new initiative to provide free or nearly free access to the major journals in biomedical and related social sciences, to public institutions in developing countries. Starting in January 2002 with over 1000 journals from the world's 6 largest publishers, HINARI is part of the Health InterNetwork, which was introduced by the United Nations' Secretary General Kofi Annan at the UN Millennium Summit in the year 2000.



A cooperative network for organizations concerned with improving access to reliable information for health professionals in resource-poor countries.


HIF-net at WHO

The email discussion list dedicated to issues of health information access in resource-poor settings. Launched in July 2000 in collaboration with WHO, the list promotes cross-sectoral communication among providers and users of health information. It currently has over 600 participants, including health professionals, librarians, publishers, NGOs, and international agencies.



More on... E-Communities of Practice



"SATELLIFE's electronic conference on essential drugs is used by professionals in this field to obtain and discuss current information on essential drugs, including national policies and standard treatment guidelines. Members also use E-Drug to announce and learn of upcoming conferences or courses in this vital field."



"The Nigeria-AIDS eForum project is the internet-based news list and discussion group on HIV/AIDS in Nigeria and the West African region. The forum was created in response to an identified need to bring to the forefront of public discussion, issues about Nigeria’s exploding AIDS pandemic as well as to break the silence surrounding AIDS in communities across the country."


Global Knowledge for Development GKD List

"The GKD List is a unique virtual learning community of 2,500 members from more than 100 countries, with strong representation from developing countries. The GKD List has become a premier source of global knowledge-sharing about the role of information/communications technologies (ICTs) in sustainable development."


ItrainOnline: Building Online Communities

"Successful collaboration, whether online or in person, depends on good team dynamics. The facilitator plays a key role, and careful planning is necessary. Internet-based group collaboration tools range from simple e-mail to sophisticated multimedia environments. When deciding what tools to use, remember that everyone in the group must be able to easily access the collaboration environment, especially team members in developing countries. Often it is better to start with a simple technology like e-mail, and put more effort into team-building, planning and facilitation. Whether the goal is an online meeting or the creation of a global network, the resources collected here will help groups: choose the appropriate collaboration tools, develop facilitation techniques, and plan a strategy for successfully working together online."





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