The Telemedicine Project-Tanzania
Country of Operation
- Evangelical Lutheran Church Tanzania (ELCT)Not-for-profit
Target income level
- Bottom 20%
- Lower-middle income (20-40%)
- Middle-income (40-60%)
SummaryTanzania's Telemedicine Project aims to introduce telemedicine in Tanzania, and to develop best practices and a platform for awareness-raising, knowledge exchange and policymaking in this field.
In Tanzania, most people are based in rural areas where access to health care is poor. Yet the epicentre of healthcare expertise and resources remains in the cities. Isolation from the rest of the medical world, lack of up-to-date reference material and lack of consultation possibilities has led to low quality of diagnosis in rural areas. People who can afford it come to cities for their health care at an enormous cost. Telemedicine is particularly beneficial for patients because they can receive specialist consultations in their local hospital, where they would be willing to pay for quality care.
Key program components
Training for the project was conducted for medical doctors from 14 hospitals in the Northern zone of the country. The training included the use of iPath, a web-based consultation system, digital camera use, and the use of i-teach for distance learning. In the first two months of operation (March and April of 2008) approximately 60 consultations took place. Most consultations were in internal medicine, pediatrics, radiology and dermatology. Once a doctor starts to use the system, s/he generally continues to employ it in his practice.
The longer-term objectives of the project are the following:
- To establish an online consultation network operating between 43 health facilities, where about 100 consultations are taking place weekly, of which 20% are second opinions. The effect of telemedicine on the quality of consultations of participating health workers will be measured and recommendations for improvement will be developed.
- To integrate telemedicine with e-learning and develop (or join) the online Tanzanian Virtual Campus. Based on monitoring and improvements, recommendations will be made to institutionalize the integration of telemedicine and e-learning.
- To provide a platform of exchange and alignment of telemedicine initiatives in Tanzania and to seek their close involvement in the realization of the above-mentioned objectives.
- To develop a set of recommendations to facilitate the integration and further development of telemedicine in the Tanzanian health sector.
This project uses 20 hospitals, 5 paramedical institutions, and over 160 dispensaries and health centers