Implementation of a Telemedicine Network in Angola: Challenges and Opportunities

Authors

  • Jorge César Correia Division of Tropical and Humanitarian Medicine. Department of Community Medicine, Primary and Emergency Care. Geneva University Hospitals, 1205, Geneva,
  • Luís Velez Lapão Division of Global Health and Tropical Medicine. Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Nova University of Lisbon. 1099-085 Lisbon, Portugal
  • Rafael Fernando Mingas Division of Informatics and Technology. National Health Services Directory. Luanda. Angola
  • Hugo Alexandre Augusto Pedagogic and Scientific board. Hospital Américo Boavida. Luanda. Angola.
  • Monteiro Bila Balo Division of Cyberhealth and Telemedicine. Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics
  • Mélanie Raimundo Maia Division of Global Health and Tropical Medicine. Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Nova University of Lisbon. 1099-085 Lisbon, Portugal
  • Antoine Geissbühler Division of Cyberhealth and Telemedicine. Department of Radiology and Medical Informatics. Geneva University, Geneva, Switzerland

Keywords:

Telemedicine, eHealth, low- and middle-income countries, Africa, telemedicine network

Abstract

Background: The Angolan Ministry of Health is prioritizing the strengthening of the national health system at the district level. To attain this objective, the Angolan Ministry of Health decided to develop a national telemedicine network in partnership with the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) and the Portuguese Institute of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (IHMT). Methods: Telemedicine units were created in strategic locations to enable distance education and tele-expertise activities, using software developed by HUG adapted to local conditions. Selected participants in each site were trained with regards to the use of the tools. A survey using questionnaires distributed to all participants was conducted to evaluate user satisfaction and the impact of the tools. Data were analysed using a descriptive statistical model. Additionally, two working groups were held to discuss difficulties and find appropriate solutions. Results: Seven telemedicine units were established, and 107 health professionals were trained. Regarding distance education activities, over 70 courses were designed and webcast, and 95.6% of participants answered our survey showing a high level of overall satisfaction. Uptake of tele-expertise activities was poor. Only 3 cases were discussed, and 4.7% of participants answered the survey. This was explained by low levels of computer literacy and motivation among the participants. The lack of a legislative framework and internet access in some places also played a role. Financial constraints halted the process of extension of the network to additional sites. Conclusion: More research is needed to assess the impact of the network, to understand how to scale-up to other sites, and to conduct a cost-benefit analysis to justify the pursuit of the investments.

Published

2017-03-28

How to Cite

César Correia, J., Velez Lapão, L., Fernando Mingas, R., Alexandre Augusto, H., Bila Balo, M., Raimundo Maia, M., & Geissbühler, A. (2017). Implementation of a Telemedicine Network in Angola: Challenges and Opportunities. Journal of Health Informatics in Developing Countries, 12(1). Retrieved from https://www.jhidc.org/index.php/jhidc/article/view/171

Issue

Section

Research Articles

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