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Technology / Internet

Getting treatment online in Africa

by Staff Writer
10 Jun 2020 at 14:51hrs | Views
Image: https://unsplash.com/photos/ZCO_5Y29s8k
Access to proper medical care has been a long-time issue for many underdeveloped areas in Africa. While technology is slowly beginning to transform access to healthcare, the process remains slow for remote locations. The reality is, there are still many milestones standing in the way of easy access to healthcare.

Challenges faced by healthcare workers
In the West, online health services are revolutionizing how a patient gets treated. All the information on doctors you need online is available through a convenient portal. And while all these advancements are happening in many parts around the world, it isn't the case in most parts of Africa.

Right now, health professionals worry about matters such as the proliferation of counterfeit medication. Also, medical facilities are below standard and have poor amenities. Adding to the severity of the issue is the shortage of competent healthcare specialists. The worst part? Local governments seem to be apathetic or helpless when it comes to finding a solution.

Is technology the solution to health issues impacting Africa?
Africa already has a significant number of health issues. From overwhelming cases of quickly spreading diseases like AIDS and malaria to other health conditions such as hypertension. The healthcare system in Africa is already stretched beyond capacity. Now, with the addition of the Coronavirus pandemic to worry physicians, Africa is completely overwhelmed.

So, while technology has the power to aid Africa in overcoming so many of the challenges they face, access is what stands in the way. Apart from limited technology, health care professionals are also hard to come by. Trained doctors, nurses, and other professionals don't want to work in an area with no access to reliable power or water.

Further, while online doctor visits are an excellent resource for overcoming these challenges, many who live in rural Africa don't have reliable internet access. Not only that, but they also aren't likely to afford the devices needed to gain access. Indeed, it seems like a never-ending cycle of problems without a clear solution.

Is there hope for change to happen in the future?
In addition to the prevalent issues like AIDS and malaria, African communities still battle emerging health concerns. For instance, as the economy in some major cities improves, the growing middle class get to afford more Western-style food. With this comes the possibility of more people contracting chronic conditions such as hypertension and diabetes.

But all hope isn't lost. As globalization continues to impact African countries, technological advancements are slowly starting to change the landscape. For now, these changes are concentrated on urban areas only, but the impact is still significant. Perhaps in the next decade or so, we'll see more technological advancement being adapted to provide medical care for remote locations.

While technology is not the only issue surrounding access to healthcare in Africa, it might as well be the priority. With the current Coronavirus pandemic putting the world in a stand-still, it makes sense to have online access to healthcare. Simple access to video doctor visits would easily release pressure from the already overwhelmed doctors and staff running medical clinics in rural Africa. Further, the general population of Africa may remain a little bit less at risk if they were able to practice social distancing more effectively - this would be greatly enhanced with easy, reliable access to the internet.


Source - Byo24News

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