For Haiti’s Health Care, a Virtual Boost


Above: a Cuban doctor administers a vaccine in Haiti (UN Photo/Sophia Paris)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti’s healthcare delivery is getting a virtual boost.

Medical workers and volunteers both in Haiti and abroad are now being virtually connected through a partnership between IBM and the Colleagues in Care Global Health Network.

The programe involves cloud-based social analytics and collaboration services, providing an online medical knowledge system that includes options on everything from treatment to best practices particular to the situation in Haiti.

While most healthcare workers in the country had little or no access to specialists to consult about specific medical conditions, the IBM SmartCloud is giving them the ability to determine how best to care for patients remotely.

Before the 2010 earthquake, Haiti’s healthcare programes suffered from understaffing and limited resources; in a 2009 study, Haiti had a ratio of one nurse and three doctors per 10,000 people.

It’s the latest plan to use information technology to improve daily life in Haiti as it rebuilds.

A recently-launched Digicel-backed progarmme uses mobile money transfer technology to address the problem of a largely unbanked population.

In Haiti, while two thirds of citizens have access to mobile phones, just 10 percent have bank accounts.

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