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The country’s telecoms regulatory body, POTRAZ has introduced telemedicine in the Manicaland province to improve specialist health access in remote areas. Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure. In essence, Telemedicine allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the need for an ‘in-person visit’.
Some people may have been wondering where the funds in the Universal Service Fund is going. Here is one avenue the money is being channeled into. This initiative is being financed through POTRAZ’s Universal Service Fund and ITU. This telemedicine project is a product of the partnership that POTRAZ and ITU got it back in 2015 to improve health care access through ICT in rural areas. In 2016 the partnership’s momentum was fuelled by an agreement to invest $300 000 in telemedicine services. To materialize this project, POTRAZ also engaged with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
Announcing the initiative, Minister of Information Communication Technology and Cyber Security, Supa Mandiwanzira said telemedicine is being tested in 12 clinics and district hospitals in the Manicaland province.
I’m glad to inform you that Manicaland Province has also benefitted from a telemedicine pilot project which is jointly being funded by the Universal Services Fund (USF) run by Potraz and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU… “The aim of this project is to provide specialist healthcare services to rural health centers from specialist doctors stationed at Nyanga and Mutambara district hospitals, Mutare Provincial Hospital and Parirenyatwa using a state-of-the-art ICT platform.
In rural, patients endure longer appointment commutes and have trouble accessing lifesaving consultations for specific diseases or chronic care plans. But Telemedicine offers better and timely access to consultations and specialists. Patients can address healthcare issues quickly with real-time urgent care consultations and learn about treatment options within minutes. Patients can even be referred to the specific specialists they need, regardless of location. Or if a specialist is looking to expand their patient population, telemedicine is able to help them reach a wider geographic region.
In light of that, I believe this is a good (life changing) initiative as it not only not only improve healthcare access and save lives but I also think that it will stimulate ICT innovation for telemedicine.
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