A starting point for raising awareness about the relationship between Information Communication Technology and Health Care among Medical Students

Health care has been deeply transformed by digital revolution at every level and many new paradigms allowed by the application of Electronic Health Records (EHR) and Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in medicine are already mainstream in the everyday medical practice. The young students and doctors are expected to have a deep understanding of eHealth and its implications. eHealth topic do not receive the deserved attention by the average medical student, and this is not acceptable in a generation of future doctors that is going to be deeply influenced by these technologies.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), decided to advocate to increase the awareness about eHealth among medical students from all over the world together with IsfTeH (International Society for Telemedicine & eHealth). ISfTeH collaboration, from 2013, is supporting the IFMSA technological platformn involving students in this new field of health assistance and education – available through the utlization of IT facilities can help reducing the assistance gap in less privilege and remote communities, where not all the current professional expertise and diagnostic equipment is available. Nowadays, Telemedicine and eHealth are important tools to be used in favour of improving the care of patients, with significant impact when implemented in underserved areas of the world. [1]

IFMSA participated at Med-e-Tel event that took place in Luxembourg from 9 to 11 April represented by Omar Cherkaoui, IFMSA New Technologies Support Division Director.

 

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The ISfTeH through Med-e-Tel facilitate the international dissemination of knowledge and experience in Telemedicine and eHealth, to provide access to recognized experts in the field worldwide, and to offer unprecedented networking opportunities. Many different stakeholders were involved in this globalevent where it was possible be brought face-to-face to share aspirations, learn from research and experiences, show the possibilities, understand the market, discover new applications. The vast conference program featuring over 150 presentations and workshops, allowred to learn from experience built up by experts from around the world: applications and best practice examples, future trends in Telemedicine and eHealth, and their effect on the healthcare system, update on new developments that will allow you to stay ahead and make more effective and efficient use of technologies to improve quality of health, medical and social care.

During the Med-e-Tel conference, IFMSA presented an abstract and a poster, reporting thus how it has tackled

the eHealth topic with three initiatives during the 63nd March Meeting in Hammamet, Tunisa: Policy Statement about eHealth has been approved, a three days workshop about eHealth was run in the days before the GA (preGA Health 2.0 Workshop), discussion about the role of the IFMSA Technology Officers as first advocates. These initiatives have been realized thanks to the collaboration between IFMSA, ISfTeH (International Society of telemedicine and eHealth) and WHO. ISfTeH encourages the involvement of medical students recognizing the potential to facilitate its dissemination. As future professionals, IFMSA students are aware of this new field of assistance and education, which moreover can help in reducing the assistance gap in less privilege and remote countries, where there is lack of expertise and equipment. Non-formal education plays a crucial role for promoting changes and developing key opinion leaders.

IFMSA strongly supports the advancement and accessibility to the use of eHealth, to deliver health and healthcare services and information over large and small distances. We, as IFMSA, believe that the obstacles that currently hold back the further implementation of eHealth, can be dealt with by better collaboration between different stakeholders in the health care sector. All of those actions are necessary also to provide access to eHealth trainings within undergraduate and postgraduate medical education, to offer access to additional trainings in eHealth to practicing physicians, to invest in the widespread of affordable phone and internet coverage as much as possible, to raise awareness on the benefits of eHealth and to invest in infrastructure to provide access to all to participate in eHealth.

Authors:

  • Omar Cherkaoui, IFMSA New Technologies Support Division Director
  • Ivana Di Salvo, Liaison Officer to Research Medical Associations
  • Angelo D’Ambrosio

IFMSA at the World Health Summit Regional Meeting in Latin America

Today starts for the first time in Latin America the World Health Summit Regional Meeting and IFMSA is part of it. Hosted by Brazil and organized by the University of Sao Paulo this is a unique opportunity for the federation to participate in the different discussions about key global health challenges in the Americas region and in the world.

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The World Health Summit (WHS) is the annual conference, in Berlin, Germany, of the M8 Alliance of Academic Health Centers, Universities and National Academies. It is hosted by the government of Germany and organized by the WHS Foundation GmbH, with its Organizing, Executive and Media Office located at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. It is one of the world’s foremost gatherings of global health leaders where IFMSA year after year has increasingly expanded its participation.

In this occasion, for the next three days, IFMSA delegates Arthur Mello, RA SCOPH, Maxime Leroux, RA SCORP, Gustavo Fitas, PAMSA NMO Assistant and Jacqueline Forti, IFMSA-Brazil, together with researchers, health experts, academia, civil society, policy makers and private initiatives will collaborate to build up a stronger response to address challenges in medical research, global health and health care delivery in America. The summit will consist in workshops, keynote lectures, symposia and poster presentations about different topics related to the five tracks in which the program is organized:

1. Healthy Life Expectancy

2. Urban health/Health in Megacities

3. Increase Research Capacities to Incorporate Technologies

4. Management of Health Systems to Ensure Universal Coverage

5. Health education


The Federation supports the purpose of the WHS by promoting youth interdisciplinary collaboration in global governance for health. IFMSA,  as a network of National Member Organizations of future physicians around the world is committed to propose innovative solutions and advocate for the inclusion of medical students and future physicians in national and international health forums.

 

 

 

 

World Tuberculosis Day Statement

Dear members and friends of IFMSA,

 

I write to you as we are all amidst planning and preparations for an intense week of activities around the 2014 World Tuberculosis Day – themed “Reaching the three million people with TB who are missed by health systems”. On occasion of this significant Day, we would like to extend our own message:

 

In accordance with the World Tuberculosis (TB) Report, TB remains a major global health issue. In 2012, an estimated 8.6 million people developed TB and 1.3 million died from the disease. The number of TB deaths is unacceptably large given that most are preventable.

Nearly 20 years after the WHO declaration of TB as a global public health emergency, major progress has been made towards 2015 global targets set within the context of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Two years ahead of the deadline, the Global Tuberculosis Report 2013 and accompanying supplement Countdown to 2015 assess progress towards the 2015 targets and identified the top priority actions needed to achieve and/or move beyond them:

 

1. Reach the missed cases. About 3 million people who developed TB in 2012 are missed by the national notifica­tion systems. It is of great importance to detect people with the illness and ensure that that they get the right treat­ment and care by their health systems while also being supported nongovernmental organizations, community workers and volunteers to diagnose and report cases; in addition intensified collaboration with public hospitals and pri­vate health facilities who are treating patients but not reporting; instituting mandatory notification of cases in more countries; and better data compilation are needed.

2. Address Multi Drug Resistant – TB as a public health crisis. In high MDR-TB burden countries, increased capacity to diagnose MDR-TB must be matched with supplies of quality drugs and scaled-up country capacity to deliver effective treat­ment and care. This will require high-level political will and leadership and more collaboration among partners, including drug regulatory authorities, donor and techni­cal agencies, civil society and the pharmaceutical industry.

3. Accelerate the response to TB/HIV. One of the top priorities include complete coverate of HIV-positive patients with TB. Preventive treatment among people living with HIV is the second priority.

4. Increase financing to close all resource gaps. An estimated US$ 7–8 billion per year is required for a full response to the TB epidemic in low- and middle-income countries in 2014 and 2015 (excluding research and development for new TB diagnostics, drugs and vac­cines). Funding in 2013 is about US$ 6 billion. Increas­es in both domestic and donor financing are needed to close the gap of up to US$ 2 billion per year, including via the full replenishment of the Global Fund in 2013. Progress remains fragile and could be reversed without adequate funding.

5. Ensure rapid uptake of innovations. The fast uptake of new tools and strategies for better diagnosis, treat­ment and prevention of all forms of TB can be accelerated by country-specific operational research and translation of findings into policy and practice.

 

“Imagine a world free of poverty. A world, where quality of life guarantees human dignity. A world, where everyone exercises basic human rights. A world, where all children will live to their fullest potential. That, is the dream the World Bank shares with all member nations. But, that dream will remain a mere dream, unless we join hands to overcome major global threats to the poor and the marginalized people around the world. Without question, tuberculosis is one such threat, and its control must be on the global development agenda.”

Ms Mieko Nishimizu, Stop TB Partnership

 

In the words of Ms. Nishimizu it is our belief that each person is to be made aware of the issue of spread of TB and receive access the proper ways to protect oneself and ones’ family from this burden. Good-quality primary health care and good quality public health services that are easily accessible are of vital importance. Prevention, early recognition and adequate treatment of TB must remain an integrated part of health care systems. All doctors must constantly be aware of the fact that TB is not an uncommon. They should be especially alert when they are dealing with immuno-compromised patients, patients from other countries or patients from the population of the homeless.

 

Member Organizations of IFMSA have always been deeply involved in tackling Tuberculosis as a Public Health concern and annually organize an array of activities related to:

 

  • Screening for TB
  • Educating the general public through awareness campaigns about TB
  • Educating fellow students through peer education methods
  • Advocating for development of improved strategies for earlier recognition of infection
  • Contributing to making scientific advances that will enable earlier diagnosis as well as better therapies or vaccines

 

In order to better understand the issue of reaching out to the people with TB missed by the health systems we provide you with The Joint Brochure of the WHO, Stop TB Partnership and Global Fund to fight AIDS, TB and Malaria on occasion of the World TB Day 2014 related to how we can address the issue.

http://www.stoptb.org/assets/documents/resources/publications/acsm/WORLD_TB_DAY_BROCHURE_14March.pdf

 

Warmest of Regards,

Petar Velikov

Director on Public Health

International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations

 

23.03.2014