Telemedicine Project in Remote and Rural Communities - Egypt
While many forward strides had been made over recent years in the Egyptian health ecosystem, in terms of overall mortality rates, vaccination and immunisation efforts, and expansion and improvement of medical infrastructure, some challenges remained unresolved. One major challenge is the centralisation of specialised medical services in the country’s major cities, leaving more isolated and rural communities with less than adequate medical services. The Egypt ICT Trust Fund felt that offering remote telemedicine diagnostic services would be a major asset to such communities. A telemedicine project, using open source, cloud technologies to connect small clinics with major hospitals in the country was initiated. Future plans include expansion to multiple nodes covering many more governorates in the country, with connection to multiple hospitals covering all medical specialisations. While the project aimed at improving medical services to rural population in general, field assessment studies have shown that women benefitted from the project due to the fact that women in these areas usually face cultural and traditional barriers preventing them from travelling freely if unaccompanied by a male guardian, rendering it very difficult for them to receive medical services from distant cities. This paper describes the process of successful implementation of each telemedicine session, and highlights the possible policy implications for future expansion of a workable model.
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