This guest post is by Robert Bollinger, MD, MPH, Director and Professor, Johns Hopkins University Center for Clinical Global Health Education (CCGHE). Dr. Bollinger is a Professor of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, with joint appointments in the Department of International Health of the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
The poorest communities of Africa, Asia and Latin America suffer from more than 80% of the global burden of disease and death. A major challenge to addressing this disparity is that these same communities have less than 10% of the worlds trained health care workers. A recent study has estimated that, in these poor communities, between 50-80% of the times someone seeks a diagnosis, medication or other treatment for an illness, people receive these services from an untrained or poorly trained practitioner. Billions of dollars are invested every year to provide access to treatment for diseases like HIV, malaria and TB. Yet, there are not nearly enough well-trained doctors, nurses, midwives and community health workers to ensure that these investments are well-spent and saving as many lives as possible.
At the Johns Hopkins Center for Clinical Global Health Education, we are focused on leveraging innovative ways to use information communication technology (ICT), such as internet-based learning, telemedicine, smartphones and mobile tablets to address this need for training. We have developed our own mobile health (mHealth) platform that uses regular cellphone, smartphones and tablets to train and empower health care workers in the most resource-limited communities in the world. Our open-source platform called eMOCHA is supporting improvements in health care in 11 countries.
The CCGHE, together with the Global Partnership Forum, the International Telecommunication Union, the WHO, the US CDC, the US National Institutes of Health, the mHealth Alliance, the Governments of Ethiopia, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as many other partners will be hosting a meeting called the GETHealth Summit, to discuss new innovations and opportunities to leverage ICT to improve training and support of health care workers around the world. We look forward to a highly interactive format and welcome health care, IT and education innovators, leaders and other stakeholders from around the world to join us in New York at the United Nations on February 6 and 7 for the GETHealth Summit. You can register and learn more about the Summit here.