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Editorials from the PAHO/WHO eHealth Newsletter

ICTs Offer Tools for Gender Equity and Equality

By Sandra Castañeda Martínez

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) offer powerful tools that go beyond recreation and consumption. Today, these tools have become allies in helping to reduce inequity––particularly gender inequity. ICTs can be used to expand women’s access to more efficient and higher-quality care, thereby helping guarantee progress towards universal health coverage.

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Gender Equity in Public Health, a Major Challenge for ICTs in the LAC Region

By Gladys Faba and Báltica Cabieses

The world has dramatically changed over the past three decades. The appearance and rapid development of multiple Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have shaped the way in which communities think of, and relate to, each other. The potential and realized contribution of ICTs to improve population health and wellbeing has not found its boundary yet. A relevant matter when we relate ICTs to healthcare is gender equity.

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Scaling up evidence-based mhealth to fight NCDs

By Brahima Sanou, as published on ITU Blog

It was with great pleasure that I participated in a recent event at the 66th World Health Assembly on mHealth for Non-communicable diseases (NCDs), an important topic for all of us. Information and communication technologies have become key enablers in every facet of human activity – from healthcare and education to energy, transportation, government, entertainment, innovation and enterprise.

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Ripples in the Blue Waters: Harnessing Supercomputers for Public Health

By Ian Brooks

In the last twenty years mobile phones have revolutionized communication, and the web browser and Internet have revolutionized exchange of information.  It may seem that computers have played a similar role in the way we analyze and visualize data in public health, yet in many cases the methods being used would be very familiar to a public health officer from the 1960s: maps are still static pictures and epidemiological data is still analyzed a variable or two at a time, with traditional descriptive and time series statistics.  Although not everyone may have access to a supercomputer, computing is changing rapidly.  

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eHealth Plays a Key Role in International Development Cooperation

By Gonzalo Robles

For more than three decades, the Government of Spain and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have worked jointly in the field of public health in the Americas. Over that time, tools that once seemed futuristic, such as information and communications technologies, have become essential for strengthening health systems in the Region and bringing us closer to universal access and coverage. Both the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation and PAHO are convinced that these new ways of working contribute to the sustainable development of health systems...

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We Must All Learn and Benefit from Information and Communication Technologies to Improve Public Health

By Gabriel Eduardo Yedlin

Argentina currently has a high level of technology penetration. The National Census and Statistics Institute estimates that three out of four residents of urban households use cell phones and more than half use a computer and the Internet. Argentina is also the country that devotes the most time to social networking sites at the global level. One of the challenges the country faces today is to ensure that this context continues to benefit public health...

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Universal Access to Health: Applying Technologies to Achieve the Dream

By Carissa F. Etienne

As Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), I am committed to advancing universal health coverage in the Americas. My dream is that every individual can have access to the health care that they need, when they need it, and where they need it.

Information and communications technologies (ICTs) can bring us closer to realizing this dream. Telemedicine, mHealth, electronic health records, among others, improve health services access, efficiency, and quality. PAHO Member States recognize this and are committed to implementing the regional eHealth Strategy and Plan of Action.

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BIREME and the VHL—Two pillars of the regional eHealth strategy

By Adalberto Tardelli

Virtual libraries, collaborative spaces, specialized dictionaries, directories, and full texts are but some of the information sources that comprise the Virtual Health Library (VHL), regionally and globally coordinated by BIREME, the Latin American and Caribbean Center on Health Sciences Information of PAHO/WHO.

Major inequities in access to health services persist in our Region as a consequence of a variety of factors that limit the possibilities of receiving medical care when and where it is needed. These inequities also affect access to information for informed decision making, as well as the capacity of health workers to utilize information and communications technologies to access that information.

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