April 2007

The e-Health Initiatives and Challenges in Peru

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The revolution in science and technology
has caused deep changes in human development
and its values, with positive and
negative impacts on all spheres of society,
particularly on human health. Latin America
is faced with several development challenges,
chief among them are public health epidemics,
environmental degradation, vulnerability
of rampant poverty, geopolitical climate, impediments
towards expansion of education
and social services, and limited trade competitiveness.
The value of ICTs, particularly in addressing
these challenges, as well as improving
access to information required for decision
making, research and production, is now well
recognized as governments continue supporting
them as powerful change agents throughout
the Latin America region. Peru presents a
potential for ICT applications in social sectors,
education, health, and political participation.


In Peru it has been heartening
to see the establishment of
strategic alliances between public
institutions and civil society
organizations, through the
various collaboration methods
using ICTs. The community effect
is reflected in the promotion of
greater familiarization with the
use of the Internet, and assisting
medical team's involvement and
access with the activities of
the community.

 

Today the threat of infectious diseases like
pneumonia, tuberculosis, diarrhoeal diseases,
malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS have assumed
global proportions and is threatening hardwon
gains in health and life expectancy. The
threat is hanging over the civilization like a
Damocles Sword. Contagious diseases like
AIDS are now the world's biggest killer of children
and young adults.


They account for more than 13 million
deaths a year, that is one in two deaths in
developing countries. For tackling them, ICT
can be an effective weapon. Now ICTs have
proven to be a powerful tool in improving thequality of healthcare for people globally, and
only an improved healthcare on a sustained
basis can root out the incidence of contagious
diseases in the long run.
There are also many information society
healthcare technologies, which can improve
patient care, while others can make health
systems more efficient and responsive. ICT for
Health (also known as e-Health) describes the
application of information and communications
technologies across the whole range of
functions that affect the healthcare sector,
from the doctors to the hospital managers, via
nurses, data processing specialists, social security
administrators and of course, the patients
themselves, and local communities.
e-Health is very much needed in Latin
America, where about 220 million people
languish in poverty, with little access to
conventional healthcare. In the Latin American
context, Alexander von Humboldt Institute
of Tropical Medicine

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