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A telemedicine network to support paediatric care in small hospitals in rural Tanzania.

Submitted by karopka on Fri, 2015/10/23 - 15:19
TitleA telemedicine network to support paediatric care in small hospitals in rural Tanzania.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKrüger, C, Niemi, M
JournalJ Telemed Telecare
Date Published2012 Jan
KeywordsChild, Child, Preschool, Electronic Mail, Female, Hospitals, Rural, Humans, Internet, Male, Pediatrics, Physician's Practice Patterns, Referral and Consultation, Retrospective Studies, Rural Health Services, Tanzania, Telemedicine

We reviewed our experience with the Tanzanian Telemedicine Network in supporting paediatric care at 40 small, rural hospitals in the country. The network began operating in 2008. Store and forward telemedicine was provided via the open source software iPath. The 33 volunteer consultants were based in several countries, although most of them had practical experience in Tanzania. During the first three years of network operation there were 533 referrals. There were 159 paediatric cases (median age five years). Three paediatric specialists provided most consultations (64%), but other specialists provided recommendations when required. The response time was usually less than two days (median 6 h; inter-quartile range 2-24 h). A precise recommendation was not always provided, but since all consultants had an intimate knowledge of the state of health services in Tanzania, their advice was usually well adapted to the local circumstances of the hospitals. Referral to a higher level of care was recommended in 26 cases (16%). A simple web-based telemedicine system combined with email alerts is feasible in remote locations in Tanzania, even where fast Internet connections are not available.

Alternate JournalJ Telemed Telecare
PubMed ID21968000
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