An "ACCESS" Guide for ICT Training on Information and Research Tools in Low Resource Settings

By Margaret Salmon, Christian Salmon, DSc, Nerys Benfield, K. Joe Lusi, David (N) Masumba, Richard Bitwe, Maurice Masoda, Theodore Ruel and Michael Vanrooyen.

Published by The Technology Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Use of computer-based information and communication technologies in health sectors (e-Health) improves public health and patient care partly by providing practitioners rapid access to information and research applications. The benefits of these technologies, however, are in general restricted to developed nations, while access to similar resources in developing-nations has lagged. We developed a hospital-based model for physicians by physicians in order to rapidly establishing e-Health practice at a hospital in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). DRC was thought appropriate at it’s a resource poor region, includes staff with limited history of e-Heath and Internet access was recently introduced. Lessons learned from this project would ideally be transferable to similar settings. This project had three parts 1) assessment of baseline e-Health knowledge, 2) program of study 3) prospective follow-up survey of participants to assess impacts and identify enabling components and barriers. Program of Study 2008: Training modules were developed on A) online medical resources, B) interpretation/use of research methods, C) development/use of computer-based databases for data collection and analysis. Laptops and relevant software were issued. Follow-up Survey 2010: 16 participants and 5 administrators. Results showed increased online medical resource use research initiatives and outputs. Participants gave highest ratings to e-Health training, access to computers and research tools. Response themes highlighted improved academic performance and physician global empowerment. Enabling components included training at hospital level, provision of laptops, open-source resources, mentoring, Epi-Info for research design and data. Constraints were subscription fees, poor Internet connectivity, laptop longevity, lack of appropriate firewalls. Data must be interpreted with caution because participant number was small and data collected at different times. A more rigorous study using randomized format is ideal but difficulties controlling exchange of information limit study design. e-Health/ICT training by physicians can increase use of appropriate online medical resources and stimulate local research initiatives.

Keywords: Africa, Low Resource Settings, Technology, Education, e-Health, ICT, Democratic Republic of Congo

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp.37-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 523.529KB).

Margaret Salmon

Resident Physician, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Margaret Salmon has academic training in clinical emergency medicine and public health. She received her MD from University of Washington and master's in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health where she studied how conflict and complex emergencies affect civilian populations. Before emergency medicine, Margaret worked in public health in Kenya, Rajasthan India, Nicaragua and the Democratic Republic of the Congo where she is research advisor to the Residency program at HEAL Africa in Goma. Margaret is a graduate of the HELP (health emergencies in large populations) course of the International Committee of the Red Cross/Crescent and Standards in Reproductive Health in Conflict course of UNFPA. She designed the Responsibility to Protect workshop and simulation for the Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research at Harvard University. More recently, Margaret completed her residency in emergency medicine at University of California San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital. During this time she has published extensively on technology and low resource settings.

Dr. Christian Salmon, DSc

Department of Engineering, Western New England University, Springfield, MA, USA

Dr Nerys Benfield

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Einstein University, New York, NY, USA

Honorable K. Joe Lusi

Director Orthopedics, Director HEAL Hospital, HEAL Hospital, Goma, N Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

David (N) Masumba

Information Manager, HEAL Hospital, Goma, N Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Richard Bitwe

Director Pediatrics, Goma, N. Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Maurice Masoda

Family Medicine, HEAL Hospital, Goma, N. Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Dr. Theodore Ruel

Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA

Dr. Michael Vanrooyen

Div of Emergency Medicine/Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, Boston, MA, USA


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