Faster internet in Tonga could lead to better healthcare (at least, according to the World Bank)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

I came across this video from the World Bank in my Twitter feed. The World Bank is promoting a its project to bring high-speed internet to Tonga through the installation of an underwater fiber-optic cable and saying that the improved connection will improve the quality of healthcare. The description reads:
In August 2013, an 827 km underwater fiber optic cable arrived in Tonga, linking the country with Fiji via the Southern Cross Cable link between Australia and the United States. Arrival of the cable brings broadband internet to Tonga which will provide better and cheaper ICT services. The country's health sector is making plans on how to improve services with better internet connection to the outer islands and with other countries.


While this video is obviously promotional in nature, I can definitely appreciate the importance of technology in improving the quality of care in rural and remote areas. Texas A&M has the only school of rural public health in the US, and so I saw a lot of discussion on the ways that technology can improve health outcomes and provide access to medical consultations for patients, especially through video chatting. It also has great potential to improve the quality and timeliness of medical education for professionals who do not have the same access to resources as their colleagues in urban areas.

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