Wednesday, September 19, 2007

What can ICT do for poverty alleviation?

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can potentially be used as a tool to aid in poverty alleviation. Do throw in your thoughts on how ICT can be used in poverty alleviation. Provide suggestions specific to how ICT can aid in development in specific areas like healthcare, agriculture , education etc or throw suggestions on how ICT can be useful building block to tap the rural market.


Shobhit S Thapar said...

ICTs have clearly made an impact on health care. They have:
• Improved dissemination of public health information and facilitated public discourse and dialogue around major public health threats
• Enabled remote consultation, diagnosis and treatment through telemedicine
• Facilitated collaboration and cooperation among health workers, including sharing of learning and training approaches
• Supported more effective health research and the dissemination and access to research findings

Shobhit S Thapar said...

Use of Telemedicine:

Telemedicine is a growing field. According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU, 2005), telemedicine is a powerful tool for improving health care delivery which as been successfully implemented in pilot projects in many countries. Although telemedicine can be highly effective, a SIDA report (Greenberg, 2005) notes that cost is an issue: ‘in its high-tech implementations, it is unlikely to be cost-effective or affordable in widespread use. … Those implementations requiring high bandwidth and sophisticated remote equipment have generally proven practical in cases where money is not an issue or as an alternative to high-cost air transportation and lodging.’
Used wisely, however, telemedicine can be a cost-effective method that richer countries can employ to aid capacity building in the health care systems of poorer countries.
Telemedicine piloting is well advanced in Latin America, with a number of case studies that contain learning that can be informative for scaling up projects. These include the use of distance education to encourage breastfeeding (de Ornes et al, 2002), the use of telemedicine in rural areas to improve maternal health (Martinez, 2005), and an exploration of how the Internet can be used in urban areas to contribute to the prevention of mental health (Finquelievich, 2000).
In Africa, most people are rurally based and their health care is sparse. Yet the epicentre of health care expertise and resources in Africa remains in the cities. The result is that the people come to towns and cities for their health care in huge numbers and at enormous cost. ICTs are beginning to be used innovatively to bring the healthcare more effectively to the people.
The experience elsewhere demonstrate that telemedicine helps countries deal with shortages of health care professionals through better coordination of resources, builds links between well-served and underserved areas of the country and helps link health workers to latest research and information and can enhance sharing of experience and professional development. ITU (2005) notes that telemedicine is more than the delivery of hardware and software. Incorporating already existing technology – such as phone or email – into medical practice and routine consultancies can make a difference

Manasi said...

Application of ICT in agriculture is increasingly important, especially in developing countries like India.

Some of the phases of agriculture where ICT can be applicable would be Crop cultivation, Water management, Fertilizer Application, Fertigation, Pest management, Harvesting, Post harvest handling, Transporting of food/food products, Packaging, Food preservation, Food processing/value addition, Food quality management, Food safety, Food storage, Food marketing.

Some of the ICT activities can be:

1. Communicating Market price information.
2. Developing land registries.
3. Communicating agro-meteorological information.
4. Facilitating networks of agricultural researchers and farmers.
5. Using internet for learning about agricultural techniques used in developed countries.

Internet can be used by Farmers for trading.There is undoubtedly a place for e-trading in agriculture, its fragmented structure, relatively dispersed trading community and consequently inefficient supply chains mean that this is ample scope to reduce costs and improve service levels.

ICT can come into picture with Geographic Information Systems, Precision Farming and Mapping.

A useful link for ICT in Agriculture :