The RAFT network was well represented in the discussions about access to health and the opportunities and challenges of ICT.
A session looked at ways to improve access to information for isolated care professionals:
"Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play an important part in modern medicine. However, in rural African communities, the ability of medical professionals to access these new technologies is limited. The purpose of this session was to present the methods and findings of several recent projects in rural Africa and to identify ways of improving access to telemedicine services in future."
Another session looked at IT and the future of healthcare:
"The benefits of Information Technology (IT) in healthcare are creating "boundless opportunities in a borderless world", according to speaker Dr. Ganapathy. Access to healthcare and support for care professionals in remote rural areas is being transformed by the internet and telecommunications. Resources are being better utilised as the need for physical mobility of equipment, care providers and patients is minimised."
The RAFT also contributed to the dissemination of the discussions, through the webcast of plenary sessions. These can be access from: http://raft.hcuge.ch/hub.htm
The first training session for English-speaking RAFT coordinators was held at the Hôpital Mère-Enfant in Bamako on March 31st and April 1st. This session was organized in the context of the African Partnership for Patient Safety, a WHO Patient Safety initiative involving hospitals in Africa and Europe. Healthcare professionals and IT specialists from Ethiopia, Malawi and Uganda were instructed on the use of the Dudal distance education and collaboration platform. It will be used to produce educational material and share expertise and experiences with the partners of the APPS programme.