The Importance of ICT Accessibility

When I first approached the subject of ICT4D I was somewhat skeptical of the immediate need of information and communications technology in developing countries. I figured that programs focusing in on healthcare, education, and gender equality are more important to the developing world. However, through this week’s lecture and a recent article on RYOT.com, I realized that it is through the use of ICTs that these three ideals are able to be promoted and sustained.

During this week, we discussed that one of the main problems with the spread of ICTs is the difficulties of accessibility. Without proper devices or nearby locations to access such technologies, there is little hope for ICTs to spread and help develop these countries. In order to fight this obstacle, Earth Institute Director Jeffery Sachs has pledged to train 1 million health workers in sub-Saharan Africa. This new campaign provides workers ‘mobile phone and broadband access to sophisticated medical resources’ in order to deliver health care to the rural poor.

Jeffery Sachs, along with Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez announced the campaign earlier this week, and have hopes to ‘equipping and deploying one million health care workers by the end of 2015’ across sub-Saharan Africa. This pledge of ICTs to rural Africa will have huge impacts on these countries which are plagued with disease and have high maternal and child mortality rates. Through the accessibility of such simple technologies, the largely incompetent health care services in sub-Saharan Africa have the potential to develop and modernize.

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2 responses to “The Importance of ICT Accessibility

  • skaplan9190

    I think it’s really interesting how simple technology solutions are being used to combat such serious issues as you mentioned. The only thing this makes me question is what the people in these rural areas have as opportunities for development.. It may sound harsh, but once they are cured and healthy, then what? Regardless, this is the kind of step that is definitely a positive one for LDCs.

  • dbarnes4

    I believe the idea behind this particular promotion of ICT’s is to provide sustained enhanced medical care for people who previously did not have access to it. It is the job of different projects from the communities and other actors to enhance other development opportunities. As long as the health care workers in the sub-Saharan places where these technologies have been introduced are trained properly, then I think this use of ICT’s is a great example of how ICT’s can be helpful for development.

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