The health of people living in the Region of the Americas has experienced noteworthy improvements over the past several decades. However, several critical goals remain unmet. Considerable challenges persist in both communicable and non-communicable diseases; in particular, marked increases in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer, and the continued impact of diseases such as tuberculosis, dengue, and malaria. Suboptimal levels of maternal and child health, insufficient human and infrastructure resources, and wide geographical and cultural differences add further complexity to the situation in the Region. The availability of health services and health-related information varies greatly across communities, geographic areas, and countries, impeding universal access to health services and decreasing the quality of care. These differences are determined by a combination of geographical barriers and other social determinants of health, as well as policy processes and decisions. Viewing the glass as half-full, the spread and uptake of information and communications technologies (ICT) have the potential to level the playing field by reducing some of these barriers and enabling information-sharing that will assist in equalizing these differences. Many ICT systems and devices, initially expensive and of limited dissemination, have become affordable and are widely used across many levels of society.
Full Article PDF