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Novartis telemedicine service to be ramped up in Ghana

Country's health service selects it as part of the national eHealth strategy

Telehealth

A telehealth service supported by the Novartis Foundation in Ghana is to be scaled up after a successful pilot saw it selected as part of the country’s national eHealth efforts.

The Ghana Health Service and Ministry of Health have set up and staffed six teleconsultation centres and Novartis said full national coverage was expected to be possible by 2019.

The Foundation, a non-profit arm of the Swiss pharma firm, joins project partners that include Ericsson, Airtel and Columbia University.

Dr Ann Aerts, head of the Novartis Foundation, said: “We’re very proud to have been a part of this partnership, all the way from the pilot model to the roadmap for national implementation.

“Working with policy makers to integrate initiatives like telemedicine into health systems is the ultimate goal for us - only with sustained government leadership can such initiatives continue to transform healthcare for years to come.”

The service uses mobile technology to connect community health workers to specialist health professionals via teleconsultation centres that are staffed around the clock by doctors, nurses and midwives.

The project’s aims include strengthening healthcare capacity, improving the quality of care, avoiding unnecessary referrals and reducing transport times and costs for patients.

Novartis said that in 2016 more than half of all the pilot project’s teleconsultations were resolved directly by phone, with 31% avoiding referrals to difficult to access specialist care.

Looking ahead, the Novartis Foundation said it plans to apply its telemedicine experience to initiatives in other countries.

12th February 2018

From: Healthcare

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