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bridging the digital divide

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 2 months ago

page director: (open, recruiting) if you are interested in contributing see here



Bridging the digital divide:



see related KookyPlan pages: 




Low-tech ideas:

  •  Using PEOPLE to interact with people
  • Technology may be used on the back-end to power the system, but the final contact with people is human-to-human (old school).



1. Traveling medical school / nursing school graduates - sponsored by JNJ / airlines...bringing a world of medical information to a town near you...

2. Soccer stadium idea - team up local doctors with stadium to offer free clinics 4 hours before game time. Free and open information. Doctors get honor of being team-doctor (for the fans). Maybe it can be done with a team of doctors in a town...each taking once per month.

3. Local medical students

4. Empower priests / local community leaders

5. create motivation to share info.

6. Encourage franchises of nurses in developing countries  see this article for reference. Excellent activity, that might work if properly funded





  • One-on-one interaction with people
  • trust
  • language
  • culture
  • no technological problems to worry about (lack of connectivity, lack of infrastructure)
  • more???



  • scale - its difficult to offer service to millions of people, unless you enroll millions of doctors. One-on-one sharing of information means that only a few people get the information.
  • logistically difficult...need to get doctors / messengers out, and into peoples homes (or, catch them where they congregate...church, soccer stadiums, etc).






High-Technology Ideas

  • Using technology to interact with people



  • Leverage - Able to reach a wider audience (one input of info can reach 1000's of people)
  • Efficient cost wise - low cost distribution of information
  • more???



  • lack of computer access
  • lack of internet access
  • literacy challenges - not all "disadvantaged" people will know how to read
  • language issues - software needs to be pre-programmed to many languages, rather than relying on locals in the local markets that already speak that language.
  • cultural issues - people might not want to get medical info from a computer



1. Touch-screen electronic Kiosks

A, with software / or, internet...connect to database of information

B, with IM chat with doctors / nurses

C. with video chat

2. $100 laptops (see OLPC project)

3. Internet based wiki where community shares information for free

4. use microsoft personal health records and search engine to provide information



Pre-paid internet access


see attached.......verrrrry interesting.....



My new idea: (make sure you read the article first :-)...


Since you can travel just about anywhere in the world and find an internet connection (within a day's journey)....im talking about kiosks / internet cafe's ,etc....they are everywhere in the world, but not always free (sometimes expensive, but there)....my idea is that maybe JNJ could offer pre-paid cards for internet access, but limited just to access of JNJ / Health sites. These would be sites that always work...anyone can log on...and JNJ is set up online to pay the fee directly to the Kiosk / internet cafe owner (on behalf of the customer).


As an add-on feature...if the internet connection is too slow....the user can download the package of software to the computer, and then use it next time directly from teh desktop. Then, like McAfee does...it would have a search for "updates" that would download every month or so. That way...the internet connection would be faster, and freed up so that the user only has to connect one time to download the latest JNJ info (for which JNJ pays for the connection), but then it automatically disconnects once the latest software is on teh computer, and that way JNJ is not paying for un-necessary internet time.


What do you think? Please read the attached article as reference:






Digital tech ideas



Digital divide website


The majority of the population in developing countries lives in rural areas, while the majority of the medical community exists in the cities. In India, for example, 80% of the population is served by only 20% of doctors. This leaves nearly 11% of the world's population that resides in the rural India without access to high quality healthcare. Knowledge transfer to these areas has traditionally been difficult to achieve. ICTs, however, are increasingly being used to facilitate two-way information exchange in healthcare, providing isolated communities with access to the latest health information and treatment and informing officials of rural public health issues.


Online Health Information & Portals

Some initiatives are attempting to make use of the ever-increasing amount of health and medical knowledge for the benefit of developing country communities. The Health Inter Network project provides access to a vast online library of the latest and best information on public health to providers in 69 developing countries for free, and another 42 for a significantly reduced subscription fee. A similar initiative, eMedicine.com (from webmd.com) is making their online database available for free in countries having a per capita GDP of less than $3000. Another, INASP Health Links is a gateway to more than 500 selected Web sites for health professionals, medical library communities, publishers, and NGOs in developing and transitional countries.


Many portals have a regional focus. The Afri Afya Initiative, for instance, collectes health information and then uses ICTs to disseminate it to rural and marginalized Kenyan communities. Other examples of online health information focused on Africa include the Health Knowledge Network, Health Net, and Medilinks.


In India, WebHealthCenter.com is a telemedecine services and health information Web site maintained by Tata Consultancy Services. The portal offers free health care to citizens of India via the Internet. Services offered include real time and e-mail consultations with medical specialists, ECG/EKG and CT scan interpretation, and storage of medical records in secure, online databases.


Other portals are topic-specific. The Reproductive Health Outlook (RHO) site is especially designed for reproductive health program managers and decision-makers working in developing countries and low-resource settings. The Advanced Immunization Management (AIM) site is designed to provide vital information to health managers that are promoting vaccination in developing countries.




Telemedicine initiatives help bridge the geographical distances between healthcare providers in cities and under served rural patients, bringing advanced diagnostic methods and treatment to areas that currently have little access. In doing so, the programs enhance the quality of care available, while also decreasing overall healthcare costs by bringing efficiency to the current use of medical and technological resources.


Some hospitals are starting programs themselves. The Apollo Hospitals Group, for example, is piloting an initiative in India that brings telemedicine technology and services, preventative healthcare, and even health insurance to rural patients. The Aravind Eye Hospital is helping to eradicate blindness by using Internet-connected kiosks to provide video consultations and diagnosis, as well as extensive education and training, to local healthcare providers. Two projects, one in Uganda and one in South Africa are linking central and regional hospitals together so that they can better share limited resources.


Other programs work with existing healthcare facilities. In Senegal, Pesinet weighs babies and transmits the results to remote health providers via e-mail. Doctors compare the infants' actual weights to the target weights for their ages to determine whether they need to come in to be examined. In Pakistan, Telmedpak is using high-speed rich-data transfers to provide rural hospitals in Pakistan with access to healthcare teleconsultations with specialists from hospitals located in larger, more developed cities. A similar initiative in Cambodia is using a combination of traditional healthcare services and modern telemedicine to provide consultations to rural villages.




In areas where computer-based networks are either unsustainable or unnecessary for a given task, some projects are utilizing phone networks in new ways to improve health services. The Cell-Life project, for example, uses newly developed mobile phone software for the collection of data necessary for ensuring effective adherence to antiretroviral treatment among South African HIV-AIDS patients. A similar initiative, On-Cue Compliance is using cellphones to send patients text-message reminders to take their medication.


In Peru, the Voxiva Health Alert and Reporting System uses the phone network to integrate remote health centers into the national disease reporting network. The system builds on existing telephone networks and supports multi-level data collection and distribution based on a combination of e-mail, SMS, Web and voice-messaging.


Conventional telephone lines can also be used for the transmission of video. The Videophone Telemedicine Project in Indonesia, for instance, uses low-cost videophone equipment to enable local doctors to consult with specialists in major hospitals.


Health Tips On Your Cellphone call and listen to the health information being offered




Handheld computers are also being employed to bring healthcare to rural areas. Less expensive and more mobile than desktop computers, they are allowing some projects to decentralize the delivery of high quality medical services by enabling the flow of information to and from rural healthcare workers.


The Community Access to Sustainable Health (Ca:sh) project in India, for example, is using handhelds loaded with a database of patient records to enable local paramedic workers to quickly and accurately collect patient information, and often make on-the-spot diagnoses based on the patient's medical history. Because the information is uploaded daily into a central database, the system is also helping to track the spread of diseases more effectively, allowing for epidemiological research and response to be taken sooner.


Also in India, the TeleDoc program uses PDAs to collect information from villagers using a pre-designed consultation form. This information is then transferred to a doctor in the city, who diagnoses the problem and suggests appropriate treatment, precautions, and medication. The doctor's diagnosis and suggested treatment is then once again transferred to the PDA and carried back to the villager.


In Uganda, SATELLIFE is employing handhelds to expand the reach of its Health Net network. The PDAs are used to distribute a wide range of useful information, including current medical journals, drug information, and treatment recommendations. They are also being utilized to gather patient information, improve the quality of blood donations, and fascilitate email contact between rural health workers and their urban counterparts.



Other Technologies

As technology improves and becomes more affordable, new hardware and software will continue to bring health benefits to populations in developing countries. The Early Detection and Prevention System 2000 (EDPS2000) is one example of a medical diagnostic software. It provides a preliminary analysis of disease symptomology, using a database of commonly prevalent diseases and their symptoms sourced from medical literature by specialists in different medical fields. In trials, the software has had a rate of 90% correct diagnosis out of a sample of 10,000 patients.


Hardware innovations have included a rugged, solar rechargeable hearing aid produced by Comcare International. Another company, CyberMDx, has developed the Telemedicine Instrumentation Pack (TIP), a variation of the old-fashioned medical black bag, w hich uses telecommunication technology to transfer medical data for diagnosis, therapy and education.


 SEE ORIGINAL ARTICLE for more info...

digital divide






One Laptop per Child OLPC



http://www.xogiving.org/ buy 2 give 1




The mission of this non-profit association is to develop a low-cost laptop—the "$100 Laptop"—a technology that could revolutionize how we educate the world's children. Our goal is to provide children around the world with new opportunities to explore, experiment, and express themselves.


Why do children in developing nations need laptops? Laptops are both a window and a tool: a window into the world and a tool with which to think. They are a wonderful way for all children to learn learning through independent interaction and exploration.


OLPC espouses five core principles: (1) child ownership; (2) low ages; (3) saturation; (4) connection; and (5) free and open source.






see full spec"s: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Hardware_specification



To get info in: (does not have CD rom), but does have:

USB: Three Type-A USB 2.0 connectors; Up to 1A power supplied (total);

Flash Expansion: SD Card slot.




Internet connectivity

Although OLPC itself is assuming that there won't be connections in many places, some laptops will be deployed in cities that have some type of Internet connectivity, even if it is more expensive and lower bandwidth than what Americans are used to.


Since the OLPC is primarily an educational project, we are less concerned with providing Internet access to kids and more concerned with providing a laptop that is capable of networking locally. Since both the Internet, and the OLPC laptop use the standard IP protocols, there are numerous ways in which schools, towns and countries can extend connectivity beyond the built-in mesh network.


Software & Uses


see: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Software_components







Current Status:

The XO laptop is the center of One Laptop Per Child. After two years of development, it is approaching mass production, with several thousand Beta test (B2) units deployed to developers and for testing in schools in participating countries. The laptop design has just undergone a final minor update to keep up with advancements in technology.


The final test build (C Test 1), on the final production line, has been done. The next step is mass production, expected around October '07.



School Server Hardware


Not required, but recommended for schools


While the laptop is rightfully at the center of OLPC, a valuable peripheral is the school server. OLPC will be building and distributing school servers along with the laptops, to extend the storage and computation provided by each laptop, as well as providing a local library and a mesh portal to the Internet.


Unlike the laptop, the school server is more of a collection of services than a hardware platform. In a manner identical to the laptop, OLPC will collaborate with manufacturing partners to provide a cost-efficient hardware platform for running the recommended software. Unlike the laptop, the manufacturing collaboration will not be exclusive. Individual countries will be free (even encouraged) to design and manufacture their own school servers running derivatives of the OLPC school server software.



















Quanta launches ultra-low-cost PCs



March 28 2007


Quanta Computer, the world’s largest manufacturer of notebook computers, will start making ultra-low-cost computers that could be sold in developed markets for as little as $200 this year or the next, according to its president.


The Taiwanese contract manufacturer is already producing a laptop developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers that will be distributed to children in third-world countries – under a non-profit project called One Laptop Per Child – for as little as $150.


But Michael Wang, Quanta’s president, said on Tuesday that the concepts developed through the OLPC project could be applied to create commercially viable machines that are cheaper than anything on the market so far.


“We will definitely at the right time launch a commercialized product similar to the OLPC,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that several of Quanta’s customers were seeking to launch such a product.


Quanta designs and manufactures the computers sold by the world’s largest branded companies, including HP, Dell and Acer.


Mr Wang’s remarks follow Dell’s launch last week of a desktop computer in China selling for as little as $336. Other big technology companies have also announced plans to give more people in low-income countries access to computers, including Intel’s low-cost “classmate” PC and computer kiosks supported by Microsoft.


But Mr Wang said the low-cost machines would not remain limited to developing markets. “There are a lot of poor people in developed countries, too,” he said.


Quanta has now created a new business unit for “emerging PCs” with the explicit aim of creating a new market for the low-cost machines.


He said the cheapest models were likely to be sold without hard disks, have small screens and run on open-source software, like the OLPC version.


Alvin Kwock, an analyst at JP Morgan in Taipei, said:


“OLPC has kick-started a debate over the question: What is needed in a PC?” He estimated that the new ultra-low-cost machines could expand the global PC market, which now measures 250m units a year, by as much as 10 per cent.




Health and medicine Online


Health and medicine are fundamental topics for children and families. Materials available from the UN and World Health Organization and similar aid organizations are often written for trained workers or local health staff.


  • Preventative Hygiene (i.e., hand washing, sneezing on elbows, cleaning cuts and scrapes, importance of clean water, how diseases spread and how to stop their spread).


  • Water Leaders Foundation video on safe water generation: "Safe Drinking Water is Essential." Water Leaders is actively engaged in field-level safe water projects, but has found more impact through educational and awareness activities surrounding the issues and available solutions to combat the world water crisis. To these ends, we have provided a grant to the National Academies of Science to create a web-based and DVD-based virtual exhibit titled "Safe Drinking Water Is Essential." It provides a wonderful overview of drinking water issues focused on the source, treatment and distribution and highlights available solutions now. Furthermore, we will be producing it in English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Mandarin and it will be ready to go later this summer. Since we have partnered with the NAS, the final product has really turned out to be a purely educational initiative, not your typical NGO-promotional piece. So I believe it fits in the OLPC philosophy, mission and objectives. Robert Steiner, Executive Director.


  • First-Aid : For example, see "First Aid for Children Fast", Johns Hopkins Children's Center. ISBN 0789489600


  • Availability of Doctors : When to see a doctor; when you can treat yourself.

Treatments that don't need a doctor. See "Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Healthcare Handbook", Werner, Thuman, and Maxwell. ISBN 0942364155


  • Sexual health information & HIV/AIDS prevention. Collaboration with international AIDS organizations is recommended for material targeted at older children. Possible partners include the Nkosi Johnson AIDS Foundation in South Africa. The program 'the World starts with me' is a complete digital curriculum on sexual health and hiv/aids prevention. It was developed for Uganda and is currently being adapted for other countries. see: http://www.butterfly-works.org



  • Links to authoritative health care information.



Current projects

UNICEF is developing water and sanitation material for children for the XOs; both warnings and advisories, tools for making targeted version of the same, and overviews of good practices and potential risks. Initial Uniwiki material is available online.


Health Sciences Online is helping coordinate health materials for the laptop. (see info below)







Health Sciences Online




A portal where health professionals in training and practice can access free comprehensive, high quality, current courses, references, and other learning resources to improve global health.


But, as of now...Only primarily HIV information is currently available. A full spectrum of Health Sciences courses and references should be available later in 2007. JNJ could help fund this initiative!



Background: Health sciences information and training are vital for health and socio-economic development, but good, free learning resources are difficult to find. In recent years, information and communication technologies, particularly the Internet, have been central to remedying this situation. But there are still significant hurdles to accessing online content. The World Health Organization (WHO) and others have shown that there is an enormous need to identify selective, current, accessible online educational and training resources to promote appropriate care and policies. Project deliverable: A virtual learning center for comprehensive health professional education and training, including web-accessible health sciences courses, reference libraries with textbooks, databases, and journals, and collaboration spaces for person-to-person interaction. The site is a portal with browse and search engine functions providing free online linkages to a comprehensive collection of top-quality courses and references in medicine, public health, nursing, and other health sciences disciplines. These materials will be donated, hosted, and maintained by our distinguished content partners, so health professionals in training and practice around the world can access a free, current, full, world-class education through our portal. Our primary target audience is health professionals in training and practice in developing countries, and we will also freely provide many of these materials to other interested populations around the world. Founding collaborators for this site are the American College of Preventive Medicine, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the University of British Columbia (UBC), the World Bank, and WHO. We have a distinguished advisory board, and a staff that has begun this work. This effort already has 1000s of courses and references committed from our founding collaborators and other organizations, as well as governments, specialty societies, businesses, and universities such as Columbia, Cornell, Emory, Johns Hopkins, and MIT. Some funding has been obtained from WHO, the Canadian government, and others, and more is being sought. ==For more, contact Erica Frank, MD, MPH, HSO Founder/Executive Director, Professor/Canada Research Chair at UBC, Erica.Frank@ubc.ca HSO Team









Existing Initiatives


American Medical Association:




Dr. Norman Frankel of the American Medical Association notes (on 1/24/2002) that the ten scientific journals published by the AMA participate in a program to deliver their journals without charge to developing nations.


The ten journals include:


The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

Archives of Dermatology

Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery

Archives of General Psychiatry

Archives of Internal Medicine

Archives of Neurology

Archives of Ophthalmology

Archives of Otolaryngology--Head and Neck Surgery

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine

Archives of Surgery



Association for Information Systems



At its December 2000 meeting, the Association for Information Systems (AIS) Executive Committee agreed that all university libraries in countries not listed in the World Bank's list of high income economies (see http://www.worldbank.org/data/databytopic/class.htm#High_income) should be granted free subscriptions to the Communications of AIS (http://cais.aisnet.org/) and the Journal of AIS (http://jais.aisnet.org/). These are quality electronic journals with articles by leading IS scholars.


Free For All:



FreeForAll was launched in October 2004 to provide free digital access to health journals for users in developing countries. The service is offered by an international consortium of libraries --so far, 34 libraries from 17 countries. FreeForAll delivers articles as PDFs, sometimes scanned from faxes, and makes use of existing document delivery services and ILL protocols. The costs are borne by the participating libraries.


Sci Dev:



SciDev.Net is a free-access, Internet-based network devoted to reporting on and discussing those aspects of modern science and technology that are relevant to sustainable development and the social and economic needs of developing countries.


The project is based on the premise that those who stand to benefit most from modern science and technology are also those who have least access to information about it. Such individuals are therefore left ill-equipped to take part in discussions about science- and technology-related issues that profoundly affect their lives.


Our goal is to provide a focal point for both authoritative information and informed debate on these issues. By doing so, SciDev.Net seeks to empower both individuals and communities in developing countries, increasing their ability to ensure the effective contribution of science and technology to sustainable development, and thus to the general improvement of health and economic well-being.




Virtual Health Library


(Latin America and the Caribbean)


BIREME's mission is to contribute to the development of the health in the countries of the Latin America and the Caribbean by promoting the use of health scientific and technical information. The Virtual Health Library is envisioned as the broad of scientific and technical knowledge based in health-entered, organized, and stored in electronic format in the countries of the Region, universally accessible on the Internet and compatible with international databases.


The Virtual Health Library is simulated in a virtual space on the Internet and consists of a collection or network of health information sources in the Region. Users from different levels and locations will be able to interact and navigate in the space of one or more information sources, regardless of their physical location. The information sources are generated, updated, stored, and manipulated on the Internet by producers, integrators, and intermediaries, in a decentralized manner using common methodologies for their integration into the Virtual Health Library.






Many more

See here for a complete list of online resources available to scientists (free) in developing nations:









More Resources of Reference:



JNJ - Johnson & Johnson

JNJ Innovation Challenge: How to make health care info available to disadvantaged

list of charity ideas


online tutor






J&J's "social responsibility" website shows their current programs and partnerships. http://www.jnj.com/community/index.htm

Partnerships: http://www.jnj.com/community/contributions/partnerships/index.htm

Contribution Programs: http://www.jnj.com/community/contributions/programs/index.htm



Look here first... search engine of health innovations

 Health care competition: \" Disruptive Innovations in Health and Health Care: Solutions People Want\" 

JNJ - Johnson & Johnson

list of charity ideas - use this list for inspiration

OLPC - could use cheap computers to give information to poor communities

online tutor - could connect patients with doctors

personal health records - great search engine from microsoft + record keeping

online classes - why not offer health videos over youtube?

online video is another option, but takes lots of bandwidth, and is only really good with high-speed, broadband connections

digital divide




Links to KookyPlan pages:













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