Accra, Jan 12, GNA - Technology and e-health can make a huge impact at reducing the cost of healthcare delivery, Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Dean of the School of Continuing and Distance Education, College of Education, University of Ghana has said.
According to him, what is really missing in the long-term solutions is the little recognition given to ICT as the indispensable driver of transformation and the main key to lasting solution to some of the perennial challenges confronting the health sector.
The World Health Organisation defines e-health as the transfer of health resources and health care by electronic means.
Prof Oheneba-Sakyi made the observation on Monday in Accra during the formal opening of the 67th New Year School and Conference on the theme 'Promoting Universal Health for Sustainable Development in Ghana: Is the Information, Communication and Technology (ICT) the Game Changer'.
It is being organised by the University of Ghana in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Ghana Health Service, the Ministry of Communications, and the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies; under the auspices of Airtel Ghana Limited.
The aim of the 67th Annual New Year School and Conference is to create the platform for a dispassionate discussion of how the nation could deal with the challenges confronting the health sector through the integration of ICT.
The Annual New Year School and Conference from 2014 to 2019 intends to focus on ICT as the vehicle for the transformation of the country's educational, political, health, agriculture and business economic sectors.
One unique feature of this New Year School is that 'It is paperless'; all information for participants' discussions were placed on pen-drives.
Prof Oheneba-Sakyi said there was the widespread acknowledgement that ICT had an important part to play in changing and modernizing our healthcare, strengthening primary health delivery, and build foundations for addressing non-communicable diseases.
He said a UN Report in 2012 discovered that in 26 developing countries, a wide range of m-health applications were in use for education and awareness, remote data collection, remote monitoring, communication and training for health workers, disease and epidemic outbreak tracking and diagnostic and treatment support.
He said in the last two decades, there had being calls for the development of the competences of people in both developed and developing countries to adapt to a changing world in which everything is highly interconnected.
'For several developed countries, the use of ICT in the health sector for creating awareness, service delivery and training has been identified as having a critical role in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (especially goals four and five) and now the Sustainable Development Goals,' the Dean said.
Mrs Lucy Quist, Managing Director of Airtel Ghana, said 'The time to fully embed technology in healthcare delivery in Ghana is now'.
She said Airtel Business had customised solutions that ensured healthcare practice was supported by electronic processes and communication.