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Telehealth

The UNHCR (the UN refugee agency) reported 65.3 million people were displaced from their homes in 2015. More than 21 million were refugees. Telehealth provided by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) is helping them. MSF is an international, independent, medical humanitarian organization which delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, and those with no access to healthcare. The telehealth is not provided through newly equipped kiosks which are popping up around America. It is much more basic. The digital transfer of specialist medical knowledge across continents and time zones is beginning to help some of the 65 million displaced.

A doctor in Canada explained how telehealth access to specialist medical knowledge had a profound impact on the life of a young girl in war torn Eastern Congo. The girl was shot in the hand by armed forces. The local doctors had limited experience with such a wound and were considering amputation. They connected to an MSF telehealth network via the Internet and uploaded a picture, a description of the situation, and what medical history they could obtain about the child. A few hours later, a specialist responded with very specific advice on what to do. The treatment avoided an amputation. Read the full story: Africa: Telemedicine Saves Lives in Disaster Zones.

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