Teleconsultation and telerehabilitation in India and the Philippines
Modern information and communication technologies (ICTs), such as internet, tablets, cell phones, and videocalls have great potential to help address some of the challenges in providing accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality rehabilitation services. Teleconsultation and telerehabilitation use ICTs to overcome geographical barriers, and increase access to rehabilitation services. This is particularly beneficial for rural and underserved communities in developing countries – communities that traditionally suffer from lack of access to health care. In 2020, the use of teleconsultations escalated rapidly as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent “lockdowns” in many countries, which restricted face-to-face consultations.
In many countries where the Liliane Foundation is active there are few health and rehabilitation professionals. Often they are concentrated in major cities, far away from remote areas where the majority of children and youth with disabilities live. Travelling to the city is expensive and time-consuming and during the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions sometimes made this virtually impossible. As a result people living in remote areas often have no access to quality health care and rely on fieldworkers, such as Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) workers and Community Health volunteers, for basic care.
Digital technologies offer new possibilities. Many countries in developing countries digitalize at a fast pace. New innovative ways are being developed to provide care to people who have difficulties accessing health and rehabilitation services.