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J Telemed Telecare. 2012 Jan;18(1):59-62. doi: 10.1258/jtt.2011.110312. Epub 2011 Oct 3.

A telemedicine network to support paediatric care in small hospitals in rural Tanzania.

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  • 1Haydom Lutheran Hospital, Haydom via Mbulu, Tanzania.


We reviewed our experience with the Tanzanian Telemedicine Network in supporting paediatric care at 40 small, rural hospitals in the country. The network began operating in 2008. Store and forward telemedicine was provided via the open source software iPath. The 33 volunteer consultants were based in several countries, although most of them had practical experience in Tanzania. During the first three years of network operation there were 533 referrals. There were 159 paediatric cases (median age five years). Three paediatric specialists provided most consultations (64%), but other specialists provided recommendations when required. The response time was usually less than two days (median 6 h; inter-quartile range 2-24 h). A precise recommendation was not always provided, but since all consultants had an intimate knowledge of the state of health services in Tanzania, their advice was usually well adapted to the local circumstances of the hospitals. Referral to a higher level of care was recommended in 26 cases (16%). A simple web-based telemedicine system combined with email alerts is feasible in remote locations in Tanzania, even where fast Internet connections are not available.

Copyright © 2012 by the Royal Society of Medicine Press Ltd

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