For developing countries like Ethiopia, delivering even basic health care and education to remote, sparsely populated regions has long seemed an almost insurmountable challenge. Today, with the advent of broadband communication links and advances in compression and image processing technology, tele-medicine application is becoming cost- effective solution for ages old social problems
The experiences of other countries suggest that benefits from investment in the information and communication technology for health service deliveries are broad and bring effects in the overall economic development efforts. Investment in ICT could complement basic health service provisions in Ethiopia.
Opportunities include health administration enhancement, health sector connectivity and decision support system for curative prevention health, improved distribution and reduced cost of medical supplies, among others.
However, the application of the information and communication technology in the health sector in the country will continue to face challenges from weak infrastructure and lack of resources.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As most of the health and higher learning institutions are established in the cities, the e-medicine and e-education pilot projects could enable to provide services in remote and in accessible parts of the country through the use of the information and communication technology.
The information and communication technology provides range of options for community development activities in particular for the health sector. This could be realized through the effective application of information and communication technology that enables to prevail over long distance barriers between towns and rural areas in the country.
The setting up of the tele- medicine at the Black Lion Hospital could be used as a case show to connect the health facilities established in various parts of the country.
Many sick Ethiopians used to travel abroad to get better treatment for their illness paying a huge amount of money in hard currency due to lack of specialization and state of the art medical equipment.
Hopefully, this will be a thing of the past as a result of the establishment of this center and other health facilities. Based on the success of this pilot project, the Ethiopian government has envisioned to expand the networking to the various health care institutions established across the country in a bid provide better services to the rural community.
It is my hope that Ethiopians would learn from the Indian expertise and technology transfer which will make them competent in the ever challenging and demanding profession.
It is also befitting at this juncture to thank the government of India for selecting Ethiopia as the first country to launch the tele- medicine pilot project, which is part of the pan- African e- network project intended to connect all 53 member states of the African Union (AU) to India.
I thank you!