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The relevance of microcomputers to health improvement in developing countries
El-Kholy A., Mandil S. Information and Management7 (4):177-182,1984.Type:Article
Date Reviewed: Dec 1 1985

This brief paper describes the critical need for microcomputer-based information technology to help control health problems in slowly developing countries. The context for the paper is the global goal of the World Health Organization and many developing countries to achieve “Health for All by the Year 2000.” Numerous major health problems are medically solvable, but the requisite information management is lacking. National health information systems are essential, but centralized processing of locally collected health data has proven to be ineffective.

Regional processing using microcomputer-based information technology offers a promising compromise among the factors of control, timeliness, and cost. Primary technology transfer problems are seen to be not in the adequacy of the labor force, as might be expected, but rather in adapting technology. The lack of hardware and software standards, opportunities for unit price manipulation, and the high cost of customizing services (translation, systems analysis, and application development, for example) head the list, but these kinds of problems can be solved. The World Health Organization needs to increase its initiative and involvement in developing national health information systems, including needs assessment, systems design, policy-maker awareness, and technical research, negotiation, and consultation.

The paper provides a coherent glimpse of a complex and socially important arena of international concern for computer application. Unfortunately, for readers who want to learn more about this subject, no reference list is given. No mention is made of the availability of the full study on which this paper is based.

Reviewer:  K. A. Duncan Review #: CR109146
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