Broadband Network to Deliver Effective Rural Health Care

Introduction

Delivering effective and affordable healthcare is a complex and difficult task in most developed and economically sound nations. In rural Nepal (an LDC – Least Developed Country – designated nation) this is so much more agonizing. This project’s basic objective is to leverage a robust, low-cost, health information system that will be underpinned by a high speed broadband network.

The project’s primary focus shall be the health information system and relevant online medical services. Delivery of medical services is extremely low in rural areas. For many patients, the situation is even more acute. They travel by foot (lack of motorable roads) for days end just to avail simple medical services, e.g. general check-up, etc. Ergo, this telemedicine/tele-health project will be able to provide relief to such patients in rural areas.

Once a robust broadband network is in place along with the appropriate terminating, computing and communication devices, other ICT based applications can be easily implemented, e.g. distant education, e-governance, etc. over this same network. Community denizens in remote and rural areas will also be able to avail the advantages of connecting to the central government’s information portal, which consists of a myriad of information on local, regional and central bureaucratic services.

The initial proposal targets one village on a pilot project basis. We estimate that about 50,000 people will benefit from this project. Our belief is that this project’s success will motivate other communities and funding agencies to replicate it in other regions in Nepal.

Objectives

  1. To Identify and perform an in-depth analysis of the community’s requirements.
  2. To provide meaningful broadband Internet services in the rural community.
  3. To leverage the use of ICT tools for development processes. This shall include online applications, e.g. telemedicine, tele-education, e-governance activities, etc.
  4. To explore the usage of OTT services.

Deliverables

  1. Wireless or wired technology will be used to provide IP connectivity to the rural community.
  2. A basket fund will be created in order to seek participation from the community, local government and donor agencies.
  3. Study the local needs of the community and help them to setup an appropriate technology infrastructure with relevant technical assistance.
  4. Design suitable applications and help them to use ICT tools for effective management.
  5. Support the local government to implement e-governance mechanisms to some extent.
  6. To explore low cost voice solutions within the community in open source will be devised thereby avoiding the dependency on the expensive telecom services.
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