Can you imagine going to a hospital to figure out if you had broken a bone without access to an X-ray machine, or determining if you had a rare illness without a medical test? Luckily, these important medical tools are available to you because of one thing: technology. Without technology, we wouldn’t have highly developed machinery in hospitals, effective medications, accurate tests for illnesses, or digital medical records. All of these things have been made possible by technological advances over time.
Now, through technology and ICT, we are pleased to see that the Internet and other networks are being used to spread health information. All it takes is a few minutes and a Google search to find anything from the symptoms of Hepatitis to the treatment for malaria. And, best of all, using the Internet for health information is nearly cost-free. Individuals who may have avoided going to a hospital or health clinic for financial reasons are able to investigate their illnesses online and then determine if a doctor’s visit is necessary. Some organizations and professionals are referring to this new form of technology as HIT, or Health Information Technology.
In addition, there is a new wealth of information on preventative medicine available. Preventative treatments include things such as antimalarial tablets, vaccinations, and even a healthy diet and exercise schedule. While traditional corrective medicines treat illnesses one has, these preventative treatments are intended to stop an individual from ever getting an illness, and information on these preventative treatments can be found online as well. The Internet is being used to help people determine how to cure their ailments, but also to promote general health and healthy lifestyles.
So, what resources should one use to find health information online? A few reliable sources are www.webmd.com, where you can enter your symptoms into their “symptom checker”, and www.cdc.gov, which provides information on common diseases across all regions of the world. You should always verify the validity of a source before trusting it. For example, a government or United Nations website is likely very credible and has done adequate research, but it is not advisable to take health information from online chat groups, forums, or personal blogs.
As we recognize World Hepatitis Day, Maendeleo Foundation would like to encourage everyone to continue using the Internet for not only personal use, social communication, and employment, but also to improve your life and health! ICT is an ever expanding field, and we should take advantage of all of its benefits.