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29.11.2005 Health

ICT to facilitate health care delivery -Doctor

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Ho, Nov. 29, GNA- Dr. John B. Eleezar, Ho District Director of Health on Tuesday observed that the use of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in health delivery in Ghana was being propelled more by individual interests than the corporate initiative.

He said though the Ghana Health Service (GHS) had a comprehensive ICT policy geared to impact positively on health delivery, implementation was being slowed by lack of resources.

Dr Eleezar was delivering a paper at a day's workshop for health workers under the auspices of Ghana Information Network for Knowledge Sharing (GINKS) in Ho.

The workshop was under the theme: "Is Information and Communication Technology (ICT) helping to improve Healthcare Delivery in Ghana". He said the GHS policy, when implemented, could introduce telemedicine, improve record keeping and accelerate information collection in health delivery in Ghana.

Dr. Eleezar said ICT could impact greatly on referrals, emergency and disaster management and support blood banking, as "by the press of on a knob, personnel at the primary level can alert those at higher levels to mobilize an ambulance to save a life". He regretted that most health workers were complete ICT illiterate, stressing that success of the ICT policy implementation in the service would depend on corporate commitment, political will, support from all sectors and the general public.

GINKS is a local NGO supported by the Dutch International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD) and its local partners to "provide information and knowledge that will facilitate capacity building for ICT products and services" among others. Dr. Zelalem Birhanu, a Medical Practitioner at the Volta Regional Hospital in his paper on the "Application of ICTs to Healthcare Delivery in Ghana" said ICT could help to be specific in diagnosis to the very organism causing an ailment.

He said dependence on manual ways had made the collection data in the health sector labourious and the result sometimes unreliable. Dr Birhanu said currently the multiple folder system operating at some health facilities made it difficult for health workers to track the records of patients on reactions to drugs and others, since they would have different folders for every department visited.

He said in the consulting room, an ICT propelled system, would make it easier for a doctor to make quick references to facilitate diagnosis. Mr Kofi Gbedemah, a Social Worker, speaking on "ICTs and Health-Civil Society's View" observed that health delivery was not only about dispensing drugs, but also providing services to prevent sickness. He said ICT could accelerate the attainment of the child mortality, maternal health, and poverty reduction goals of the nation. 29 Nov. 05

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