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24.09.2004 Health

ICT and rural health delivery in Northern Ghana

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Tamale, Sept.2, GNA - Dr Elias Sory, Northern Regional Director of Health Services on Thursday indicated that health workers could sue under the National Health Insurance Scheme if they allowed patients to die due to negligence.

He explained that organizations that had insured the patients would no longer take kindly to negligence on the part of health workers that could contribute to deaths.

Dr Sory was speaking at a day's seminar on ICT and rural health delivery in Northern Ghana organised for health directors and NGOs involved in health care delivery in Tamale.

He called on health workers to embrace the use of ICTs to improve on data on patients, which he described as poor in most health institutions in the region.

He said it was necessary for health workers to be ICTs literate since they were now more challenges in the health sectors due to the introduction of the NHIS. Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS), an NGO and International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) in the Netherlands in collaboration with the Ghana Health Service (GHS) organised the forum.

The forum was to offer the organisers the opportunity to share and discuss with rural health workers in the private, government and non-governmental organizations in Northern Ghana on how ICT could be used to provide quality healthcare for the people.

The participants who were drawn from the Northern and Upper East Regions focussed on sharing experiences of how ICTs had been successfully used in rural health delivery in Ghana and other developing countries.

Mr. Kofi Mangesi, Coordinator of GINKS noted that the potentials of ICTs for health delivery was more relevant in the rural areas where there were generally lack of adequate infrastructure and expertise.

He said from patient record management, through video conferencing and health networking, various ICTs tools such as computers, cameras and the Internet had been of greater benefits to the health workers in enhancing quality healthcare delivery to people across the world, especially those from developing countries. He mentioned a recent health problem in Zambia where video conferencing was used in the separation of Siamese twins as some of the benefits health workers could derive from services of ICTs to improve on quality health care delivery in the rural areas. Mr. Mangesi said rural workers in Northern Ghana have had serious ICTs needs, which adversely affect their ability to deliver good healthcare to the public and that the seminar was to identify these needs and how they could be used to meet challenges.

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