Partnering with these programs can be far more cost-effective and responsive to local needs than launching new projects.
E-health has proven to be a cost-effective mechanism for enabling health workers to overcome barriers of time and distance and to exchange actionable information and data relating to health service delivery in multiple settings in low-resource environments. Successful projects are demand-driven and remain responsive to both local content needs and existing practices. They are also grounded within the range of the technology “continuum” that is realistically available to them, creatively adopting applications that are compatible with the local telecommunications infrastructure.
Within the context of a United States medical volunteer program, e-health has the potential to provide support to volunteers, to extend the reach of volunteers into remote areas, and to serve as a conduit for capacity building and support between volunteers and local counterparts. Sufficient functional models exist to merit a more comprehensive inventory of e-health activities in each PEPFAR country to determine whether the placement of volunteers may be able to leverage existing initiatives, although such a determination should be made within the perspective of other urgent critical needs.