Roshan, the leading telecom operator in Afghanistan, this week launched a pioneering Telemedicine solution in Afghanistan to expand healthcare access and delivery across the country. Using broadband technology, wireless video consultation and digital image transfer, the Telemedicine project will provide hospitals in Afghanistan with real-time access to specialist diagnosis, treatment and training expertise from abroad.

Roshan has teamed with Cisco, Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), French Medical Institute for Children (FMIC) and other technology suppliers to launch the project. The first phase of the project has already linked FMIC in Kabul, Afghanistan to AKUH in Karachi Pakistan, enabling access to a broad array of radiology expertise provided by AKUH. Subsequent phases will link major Afghan regional hospitals to the FMIC, which is being developed as an Afghan center of medical excellence. Eventually, the links can be extended to medical institutions in Europe and North America. The Telemedicine project developed in Afghanistan is also seen as a model for addressing healthcare delivery shortcomings in other developing countries where access to medical diagnosis, treatment and training is limited.

"Access to healthcare, especially specialist diagnosis and treatment, remains a critical problem in Afghanistan," said Karim Khoja, CEO of Roshan. "Telemedicine technology provides a solution that has the potential to dramatically expand access to quality medical care for Afghans whose only option previously was to seek specialist diagnosis or treatment overseas. Telemedicine not only immediately enhances access to medical diagnosis and treatment, but it also helps to build and sustain the nation's healthcare capacity through sharing of expertise. Patients will now benefit from the international knowledge without the need to transport specialists to the country."

"Our Government is striving to improve the quality of life of our people and providing quality healthcare is one of our top priorities. Telemedicine is the perfect marriage between the speed, convenience and cost-effectiveness of wireless and broadband technology. This innovative use of technology and telecommunications to enhance healthcare delivery will help underpin our efforts to meet the nation's other development challenges," said Amirzai Sangin, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

"At Cisco we believe that quality healthcare is one of our world's most vital needs. That is why we have taken a leadership position to develop technologies, such as our medical grade network that enables collaboration and sharing of health information over a secure and intelligent infrastructure. We are proud to be a part of this collaborative effort to deliver a telemedicine solution to Afghanistan," said Sam Alkharrat, Cisco managing director, Gulf & Pakistan. Cisco, together with other telecommunications suppliers, is providing digital image transfer systems and video consultation for the Telemedicine project.


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