Monday, April 7, 2008

Telehealth Pilot Links Health Care Providers in Ethiopia, India

A one-year telemedicine pilot project launched in July 2007 connects hospitals in Ethiopia with India's leading cardiac institute in Hyderabad in an effort to boost health care in rural Ethiopian communities, Reuters reports.

The $2.3 million project is part of a larger $135.6 million pan-African electronic network, a joint initiative between the African Union and India to improve Internet connections and communications.

The project uses fiber-optic technology to connect physicians at Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with physicians at Care Group of Hospitals in Hyderabad, India. So far, Ethiopian physicians have used the system more than 50 times to consult with Indian doctors, according to Asfaw Atnafu, an Ethiopian physician.

The project also has linked Black Lion with Nekempte Hospital, which is 185 miles west of Addis Ababa. Care Group is in talks to expand the project into Nigeria and Libya.

Indian officials estimate that 100 African patients have benefited from the pan-African network, which is linked to 12 specialist hospitals in India. India plans to continue providing funding and training for five more years before handing over the project to African countries (Malone, Reuters, 4/3).


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