News Column

Heath Care and Technology - an Amazing Feat

August 25, 2014

Sebastian Marondo

ONE could easily dispute that technology and healthcare have always been parallel since their inception. The fact is that today's fascinating technological advancements have opened our eyes to partnership that has brought amazing results.

Think of what happened in ancient Egyptian traditional health systems and medicines that existed for several decades and was very advanced during its time.

The question is how would a society so old recognise diseases and healthcare interventions? The answer is nothing but technology. Though it was so ancient the use of technology on healthcare was practiced.

The most Interesting point is that, they used to practice simple procedures such as non-invasive surgery, bone setting which is an orthopaedic practice still used today and pharmacopoeia or a drug making manuscript.

Fast forwarding today where health information technology, electronics, medical records, medical equipment's and modern surgical procedures that enhance faster recovery are just few examples of how technology is changing the medical sector. As technology improves every day, new developments are constantly infiltrating our lives.

Whether it's the way you shop, study, travel or communicate, technology is playing a major role in our lives. Breakthroughs in information gathering, research, treatment modules and communication have given medical providers new tools to work with and fresh ways to practice healthcare.

Today you can discover infections within communities through data analytics such as their online behaviour and their daily locations which both can be tracked online and can tell a lot about someone's health, vulnerabilities and health risks which one might encounter.

Based on research conducted for individual signs and symptoms of varying diseases have led to exploration of possible treatment and measures to intervene diseases. could also tell what the people in specific communities are going through, and eventually people will be empowered to make decisions on what to do next.

The development of supercomputing has accelerated the health sector by improving research at greater speeds than how long it would take over a decade ago.

Most of research laboratories can create various simulations and design for medication far quicker than in the past. Innovation has taken a new step where mobile phones are now combined with special applications and even additional devices to diagnose diseases such as eye, ear, cardio logical ailments glucose and blood pressure.

Also the telemedicine practice where specialized doctors are able to attend patients in a theatre and undergoing surgery while seated thousands of miles away sometimes in the comfort of their home. Doctors have been able to use email, texts, videos and conference facilities to consult with colleagues all over the world.

This practice is especially useful for doctors and patients in rural and underdeveloped areas. Without moving patients, doctors can be able to consult, diagnose, analyze, treat and research conditions with necessarily accessing sophisticated hospitals.

This was how telemedicine made its mark as a technology based healthcare manoeuvre in the Haiti earthquake tragedy in 2010 for example. Solving the scarcity of experts who mostly distributed unevenly based on population and geographical location. I will stick to this point for its vitality to Tanzania.

A large number of people die every day as results of poor health services and most of them end up living poorly due to lack of prompt and appropriate medical attentionIt shocks me to see that between 24 - 25 women dies every day as a result of difficulties in delivery while others left in chronic conditions and diseases like fistula which can easier be avoided.

What about the shocking under-five children's death tolls! It is a high time for Tanzania Health Sector to embrace technology and innovation, to solve the agony that is facing the country for many years.

As a nation somehow we had an excuse with lack of national ICT infrastructure to transport heavy electronic data but now we have a few years yet to see how much it touches the communities by solving the dominant problems which could take Tanzania to the next step of becoming a middle income economy by 2025.

Otherwise, with poor health services and uneven distribution of experts we will still have long way to go. We shouldn't give ourselves much credit by using ICT backbone to transfer telecom data (voice and text). It is important to communicate but we need to proactively and creatively move ahead and see how quickly we can save the lives of rural Tanzanians.

Doctors need to get off their high horses especially when it comes to serving ordinary citizens and especially those who are impoverished. If you need to prove this just visit some hospitals you will find most people spending long hours just waiting for doctors to either make prescriptions or medical diagnosis.

Some of the patients get worse condition before seeing a doctor. I vividly recall my aunt passing on while waiting for a doctor to examine her which was tragic. I believe Tanzania could change this situation combined with other strategies but using the current technology around us to solve our own problem.

Tanzania doctors can perform complex surgical procedures with the teams of experts from sophisticated hospitals by telemedicine. They could exchange diagnostics, get expert views and design procedures at little or no cost of moving the experts to Tanzania or to send patients abroad.

Why can't we think of better ways of improving our health care, transfer of knowledge and skills using current technology to solve our problem? Perhaps those on influential positions are reluctant to dig deep into such issues of this magnitude. Let's embrace the modern technology from the rest of the world including knowledge management and transfer.

This will serve millions of Tanzanians. We the responsible bodies must wipe tears on Tanzanians eyes and make them confess "Proudly Tanzanians" Sebastian Marondo is an independent writer and information System Experts.

Email sebamarondo[at] mob +255 754999 198 and on twitter @sebamarondo

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: AllAfrica

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