U of Virginia students evaluate launching telemedicine program in Ghana: 4 things to know

A team of students from Charlottesville-based University of Virginia visited Koforidua, Ghana, during the summer to assess the feasibility of establishing a telemedicine program in the region, according to UVA Today.

Here are four things to know about the project.

1. The seven-week trip to Ghana and feasibility assessment was funded by the university's Center for Global Health, and the Parents Fund. The team spent two weeks at a hospital in Koforidua, during which they spoke with patients and healthcare professionals about their attitudes toward telemedicine.

2. Six out of 10 patients the team surveyed reported the main challenges they faced in terms of accessing healthcare services were transportation costs and wait times. These delays also potentially affected a patient's livelihood, since more time spent away from work meant earning less money for their families.

3. The team is reportedly in the midst of developing a pilot program, under which patients in Koforidua would connect with a remote physician via telemedicine to cut down wait times. The program would also sponsor the creation of a housing structure to provide patients a location for these appointments.

4. The next stage of the endeavor is to raise funds to minimize the project's startup costs, in part by entering entrepreneurial competitions. If the team raises sufficient funding, it will return to Ghana in May to launch the pilot program.

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