New information and communication technologies (ICTs) continue to penetrate countries in all regions of the world, as more and more people are getting connected. The past year has seen persistent growth in ICT uptake worldwide, with an increase in all key indicators except the number of fixedtelephone lines, which has been in decline since 2005
Poverty has deepened the crisis in health-care delivery in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, which is a region facing a disease burden that is unmatched in the world. Whether access to proven and powerful information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve health indicators is an ongoing debate. However, this brief review shows that in the last decade there has been significant growth in Internet access in urban areas; health-care workers now use it for communication, access to relevant health-care information, and international collaboration. The central message learned during this period about the application of ICTs is that infrastructural and cultural contexts vary and require different models and approaches. Thus, to harness the full potential of ICTs to the benefit of health systems, health workers, and patients will demand an intricate mix of old and new technologies.
Telemedicine is the practice of medicine at a distance. It generally relies on some kind of telecommunication technology, such as the Internet or a satellite link. The primary advantage of telemedicine is improved access to healthcare, and since the developing world is characterized by continuing difficulties with access to healthcare, it might be presumed that telemedicine would be of value in developing countries (Box 1). However, despite many years of small-scale pilot trials, there has been little adoption of telemedicine for routine healthcare delivery.
This editorial introduces the three papers in this Policy Arena on the contribution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to development. Contribution in terms of technology diffusion and use – especially of mobile phones – is easy to detect. But focus has only recently shifted along the ‘ICT-for-development value chain’ from these indicators of ICT readiness and availability, to the question of development impact.
The implementation of the 58th World Health Assembly resolution on e-health will pose a major challenge for the Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) African Region due to lack of information and communications technology (ICT) and mass Internet connectivity, compounded by a paucity of ICT-related knowledge and skills. The key objectives of this article are to: (i) explore the key determinants of personal computers (PCs), telephone mainline and cellular and Internet penetration/connectivity in the African Region; and (ii) to propose actions needed to create an enabling environment for e-health services growth and utilization in the Region.
The European Space Agency (“ESA”) commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (“PwC”) to undertake an independent analysis of the costs and benefits for investment in satellite-enhanced telemedicine and eHealth services to support public health policy objectives in sub-Saharan Africa. The overarching aim of this study has been to demonstrate the illustrative additional economic benefits of using satellite technology to extend the reach of telemedicine and eHealth services to the rural and most isolated areas of sub-Saharan Africa.
The African Internet has the highest data packet loss and the worst throughput figures of any region in the world. Moreover, the continent is about 18 years behind Europe in terms of performance and the situation is improving more slowly than other parts of the world, meaning the continent’s connectivity could be as much as 70 times worse than the developed world in a decade.
This annual report identifies key ICT developments and tracks the cost and affordability of ICT services, in accordance with internationally agreed methodologies and it also sheds new light on the latest digital TV broadcasting trends, another key driving force of the growing information society.
This annual report draws on innovative and authoritative benchmarking tools developed by ITU to monitor information-society developments worldwide as well as to provide valuable information for use in formulating evidencebased policies and in effective peer learning. It presents the ICT Development Index (IDI), which ranks countries’ performance with regard to ICT infrastructure and uptake, and the ICT Price Basket (IPB), a unique metric that tracks and compares the cost and affordability of ICT services.
This work builds on the recently published End Consumer Primary Research and aims to inform health and mobile stakeholders about the users of mHealth services in the public sector. The GSMA expects this market knowledge to lead to product design that is more aligned to the needs of users (consumers and health workers), greater adoption and achievement of economies of scale and sustainability, and robust partnershipsbetween public and private sector stakeholders that ultimately reduce the widespread fragmentation of mHealth services in South Africa.