In an effort to deepen its investment in the use of telemedicine, the ITF Enhancing Human Security (ITF), a non-profit organization founded by the Republic of Slovenia, has formed a partnership with GlobalMed®—the worldwide leader in real-time healthcare delivery systems—to provide the citizens of Cape Verde, an island chain off the coast of Western Africa, with greater access to healthcare and improve quality of services provided.
An Integrated Telemedicine and e-Health Program for Cape Verde is being implemented by ITF in cooperation with International Virtual e-Hospital Foundation within the framework of Development Cooperation Program agreed between the Republic of Cape Verde and Republic of Slovenia, who has provided financial resources for its implementation. The partnership is aimed at building upon ITF’s long-range plan of connecting hospitals on all 9 inhabited islands using GlobalMed telemedicine equipment. Primarily basic healthcare services are available at Cape Verde.
Specialized treatment, which is centered on the two main hospitals on islands Santiago and Sao Vicente, is expensive due to the high costs of transportation and unnecessary transfers from outlying islands to those two main islands. Goran Gačnik,ITF Deputy Director, said the organization was first introduced to telemedicine in 2008.
Among some of the challenges the country has been facing in its healthcare delivery are geographical barriers, a shortage of specialized physicians in rural areas, the lack of a medical school and a need for more sophisticated medical equipment, which altogether hamper the quality and accessibility of healthcare services provided, “[We knew] this is something that can really change the health sector worldwide. By the end of 2013, our goal is to have a sustainable, integrated telemedicine network,” Gačniksaid. In assessing Cape Verde’s healthcare needs, the ITF determined that the country with more than 500,000 residents would be the perfect place to implement the telemedicine program because of the shortage of specialized care and lack of advanced medical equipment. Another determining factor was an already well-established telecommunications network throughout the islands that would allow for excellent Internet connectivity.
GlobalMed Founder and Managing Director Joel Barthelemy said the expansion of telemedicine into Cape Verde illustrates the growing recognition throughout the world that there’s a need to produce meaningful change in healthcare delivery. “Our partnership with Cape Verde is an important step in the direction of providing a proven solution to the growing healthcare challenges around the world,” Barthelemy said.
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