United Nations Recognizes SATELLIFE For Outstanding Use Of Information Technology
Roye A. Bourke
Press Release: SATELLIFE, an internet non-profit based in Watertown, MA, has been featured in a United Nations report as one of six organizations worldwide who are using IT to alleviate human suffering.
The 1999 annual report was issued by the United Nations Human Development Programme (UNDP). The United Nations Development Programme is the worldwide development agency of the United Nations, focusing its efforts on creating sustainable development through human capacity building.
Citing SATELLIFE's low cost communications network HealthNet, the UNDP report emphasizes the potential of IT and the Internet to bring critical knowledge to information-poor hospitals and schools in developing countries. "Doctors in Central Africa used it (HealthNet) to share information on the 1995 outbreak of the Ebola virus. Burn surgeons in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda use it to consult one another on reconstructive surgery techniques. Malaria researchers at a remote site in northern Ghana use the system to communicate with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine," the UNDP report explains.
SATELLIFE, founded by Boston cardiologist, Dr. Bernard Lown, has focused its efforts on poor health communities in remote areas where there is little or no telecommunications infrastructure. The organization uses radio- and telephone-based computer networks and a low earth orbit satellite to create a two-way e-mail network that links health care workers in developing countries to critical sources of information. SATELLIFE also hosts several electronic discussion groups focused on health topics, allowing health workers to "talk" to each other about research and proven practices. All of SATELLIFE's services are free of charge for users in developing areas.