It appears that comments on this thread are being discussed in
parallel on a HealthNet list. I've reproduced one response at the
bottom of this message.
Fred Bukachi writes from Nairobi:
> Needs that threaten survival have to be addressed first;
Agreed. And those who work in the medical profession are well
placed to determine whether the need for email access or the need for
a sterilizer is greatest when patient survival is at issue.
We could value these "inputs" to medical care (or anything else,
e.g. ag extension) sequentially, or use a different method.
Sequential or linear thinking might lead to this problem: A
sterilizer is of little use if knowledge is lacking in how to use it
properly. The Internet might provide that knowledge to a rural
clinic, for example, thereby enhancing the value of the sterilizer.
So a sterilizer might be valued singly at 2, the Internet at 1, but
together their joint value is 10 for a particular rural clinic.
Adding the Internet to a sterilizer would be worth 8, while the
Internet alone would be worth only 1.
(An integrated or systems or wholistic way of looking at the
problem, my pocket paradigm...)
Jeff @ Gaborone
Fred Bukachi's full remarks:
I have followed this discussion with great interest. The questions you
pose above quite often come up when some of us are promoting Internet
access to professionals in health sector. There are no easy answers
to them. However, one needs to consider these `needs' at different
Needs that threaten survival have to be addressed first; then those
that improve the quality of continued survival come next. In your
analogy above, a sterilising unit is of utmost importance to the
survival of a hospital (?patients). By the same token, Internet access
to the same hospital will ultimately have a profound effect on the
quality of care of patients (?hospital).
It is therefore important to stratify these needs in order to put
internet access in a proper perspective especially in this part of the
world where some resources are very scarce.
Dr. Fred Bukachi,MD
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1111 North 19th Street Suite 210
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Tel 1-703-235-5415 Fax 1-703-235-3805