Watertown, MA - August 2005: In Africa, where people
are suffering and dying of starvation and disease, not only is
there a desperate shortage of doctors and nursing care, there
is usually a shortage of information. In areas with struggling
infrastructures, no landline telephones, and sometimes not even
electricity, healthcare workers have had no access to up-to-date,
relevant, and accurate health information with which to treat
their patients. Now, thanks to innovative use of technology, handheld
computers are being utilized to deliver life-saving information
to the doctors, nurses, and public health officials who need it
most. International health information and communications technology
leader SATELLIFE has issued a white paper entitled Handhelds for
Health: SATELLIFE's Experiences in Africa and Asia to provide
advice and guidance on how to incorporate handhelds into health
and international development projects based on its experiences
using them in low-resource settings.
Handheld computers, also known as PDAs (personal digital assistants),
are portable, easy-to-use, relatively inexpensive devices that
have been successfully employed to combat information poverty
in remote areas.
SATELLIFE's experiences have demonstrated PDAs as effective tools
for health data collection and information dissemination. Healthcare
providers participating in SATELLIFE projects have successfully
used PDAs to retrieve epidemic warnings, read continuing medical
education materials, conduct
health surveys, and access treatment guidelines, all in a time-saving
and cost-effective manner.
Handhelds for Health highlights lessons SATELLIFE has learned
from its innovative use of PDAs during the last four years. The
paper offers handheld
basics and project management recommendations using examples from
various pilot projects and a thorough case study of the Uganda
Network (UHIN), an ongoing project implemented by SATELLIFE and
its project partner, Uganda Chartered HealthNet, and funded by
Research and Development Centre.
SATELLIFE Executive Director Holly Ladd describes the purpose
of the paper: "It is my hope that other non-profits, NGOs,
governmental agencies, and the private sector will learn about
the huge potential that tiny handheld computers have for improving
the health care of millions in the developing world."
To view a copy of the paper online, please visit www.healthnet.org.
To request a hard copy, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
or call (617) 926-9400.
For the past 16 years, SATELLIFE has been a global leader in
delivering health information to the world's poorest countries
through free health publications, global discussion forums, and
projects utilizing innovative information and communication technologies
(ICT). Driven by the belief that no one should die when the knowledge
exists to save them, SATELLIFE facilitates the global exchange
of knowledge among over 100,000 health practitioners serving millions
of patients in 159 countries.