Telemedicine and biomedical care in Africa: Prospects and challenges
The use of information and communication technology for health care delivery, particularly in poor settings where access to medical services is inadequate, holds promise in expanding health care access. In rural or impoverished environment, where disease is prevalent, doctors are scarce, and health care infrastructure is inadequate, telemedicine holds a good prospect in improving the health conditions of the people. However, telemedical practice in Africa cannot be without challenges because some aspects are often difficult to implement in underdeveloped settings where ignorance and poverty are rife. Apart from nonavailability of facilities and poor communication, most Africans have different understanding of ailments, which often affect the health system. Considering the increasing disease burden in Africa and the need for tremendous progress in achieving the health component of the millennium development goals, telemedicine should be of concern to health policy makers. This paper critically examines the prospects and challenges of telemedical practice in Africa through a systematic review of 31 relevant publications which, in addition to the authors’ knowledge and experience in biomedical care in Africa, supported the information as presented.
Keywords: Africa, challenges, medical care, prospects, telemedicine