As was made evident during class discussion last week, there is a lot of controversy over whether e-Health and telemedicine are the best ways for countries to currently spend money developing. One of the major issues many people had with it was that there was a lack of basic infrastructure.. i.e. poor or no electricity/internet.
Through my research on Mali this semester I have found that they are fairly far behind and represent a very low spot in the digital divide. For example, I could not even find a national ICT plan. However, they have surprisingly been able to accomplish the teleradiology. This project aimed to connect rural health centers with the larger hospitals in the Timbuktu, Mopti, and Sikasso. They established internet connections that successfully enabled specialists in the hospitals to make more accurate determinations of x-ray images. The idea for this project is based on the statistic that “in general half of the generalist doctors make mistakes in interpreting an x-ray, compared to only 5% of the radiologists.”
Although there were some struggles along the way, such as unexpected additional costs and lack of training programs, these have been fixed in the current model for the program. Now it is possible for people living in some rural areas to get much quicker and reliable information/results. Furthermore, there is now established internet connectivity between the rural areas and the major health/business centers in the surrounding areas. This should help to decrease the digital divide and encourage others to utilize the internet and increase the amount of internet users in the rural villages.
Source: Teleradiology in Mali