Page last updated at 17:00 GMT, Tuesday, 15 September 2009 18:00 UK

'We send x-rays to South Africa and India'

Is the internet your lifeline, or your nightmare? People across Africa have been sharing their stories with BBC News. Click here to send your own story.

Mehseen Khatri
Broadband will make medical image transfer much faster
Mehseen Khatri, Tanzania

The internet is important to our hospital because we transfer images to different parts of the world.

We require a very high speed connection for transferring high resolution radiology images.

We send pictures to South Africa and India, in order to get different views and opinions from different doctors.

The current internet connection we have is WIA, based on wireless technology, but it's now just a few days before they change to fibre optic.

The introduction of fibre optic cable broadband will make medical image transfer much faster.

Mobile internet means expert health care reach rural areas, says Zimani

I am researching how the internet can improve the health of Africa's rural communities.

The convergence of the cell phone network and wi-fi opens up opportunities.

For example, mobile health workers can be equipped with intellectual resources, which will always be available at low cost.

Remote health-care workers are equipped with smart phones. This way they are able to communicate with doctors at a local hospital using long range wi-fi.

Remote diagnosis

For example, a health-care worker can take a digital image using the mobile phone's camera and send it to the doctor. This helps the doctor to accurately remotely diagnose problems.

They can even communicate in real time using multimedia (instant messenger, video or VoIP etc).

As the internet is the main source of information these days, the health-care worker can use it for reference.

This way, the medical services of relatively remote rural communities are improved.

And it also reduces costs - the rural community do not have to travel long distances just to see a doctor.

Here are some of your comments:

Felicia Price
Felicia Price says Burundi's slow networks hampers her health work

I am the country director for the Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative here in Burundi. Our internet connection hampers our effectiveness. During the workday the speed is a joke. Forget a pigeon, a mule would be faster than the service we have here in Burundi. Downloading anything larger than a simple Word or Excel file is a two to three day commitment. We are using a DSL line and the problem is not just the speed but the lack of reliability. The situation for working remotely is even worse. UCOM recently introduced a new 3G USB modem which is supposed to work nationally on the mobile phone network but in practice does not work in about half the provinces even though phone service is generally pretty good. They've also been promising 3G service for Blackberries and other smart phones but I'm not holding my breath. Recently, having to respond to a last minute donor request for information while in the field, I was lucky enough to find a Red Cross field office with a dial-up connection.
Felicia Price, Bujumbura, Burundi

Are you a health professional, or a patient? How does the internet help you with health care? And how reliable is your connection? Send us your comments.

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