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infoDev's Working Paper on ICT in Health identifies opportunities and challenges in the use of ICTs in the Health Sector

Improving health, connecting people: the role of ICTs in the Health Sector of Developing Countries

Improving the health of individuals and communities, and strengthening health systems, disease detection and prevention are crucial to development and poverty reduction.

ICT has the potential to impact upon almost every aspect of the health sector. In public health, information management and communication processes are pivotal, and are facilitated or limited by the available information and communication technology. In addition, beyond the formal health sector, the ability of impoverished communities to access services and engage with and demand a health sector that responds to their priorities and needs, is importantly influenced by wider information and communication processes, mediated by ICT.

infoDev commissioned Healthlink Worldwide and two other partners, ISHED and AfriAfya, to investigate the knowledge related to the role of ICT in the health sector in developing countries.

As a result of this collaboration, infoDev released a working paper on ICT and Health "Improving Health, Connecting People: the Role of ICTs in the Health Sector of Developing Countries - A Framework Paper". 

Improving Health, Connecting People: The role of ICTs in the Health Sector

The aim of this framework paper is to draw recommendations on priority issues and future trends for policy makers. The paper draws on information gathered during the process of mapping and dialogue/discussion to present analysis and make recommendations about priority issues related to ICTs in the health sector. The paper organizes the issues and identifies key questions, players, and constraints; it presents an informed overview of ICTs and health from a development perspective, and identifies good practice examples of the use of ICTs in the health sector.

The report also outlines challenges facing the development of ICT implementation in health programmes and activities, and identifies the emerging trends and technologies that will shape ICT tools in the health sector. The analysis is presented on an international and regional level, as well as on a country and community level according to the examples examined during the research phase. The paper synthesises guidelines and good practices in broad terms for using ICTs in the heath sector. It also focuses on the cost-effectiveness of ICT-supported activities, and the use of ICTs for better monitoring of health-related MDGs.

The Framework Paper is complemented by a series of documents that include the following:

  • An Online consultation in relation to the knowledge map to tap into the experience and ideas of a broad range of practitioners.
  • A Literature Review that presents a brief survey of the materials that were selected for presentation as part of the research project.
  • A Checklist for the introduction of effective ICT programmes in the health sector.
  • Key Lessons drawn the Framework Paper that emerged from the Infodev research project on the type of information and communication technology (ICT) interventions used in the health sector.

These reports are available for download below and can also be found at

To learn more about infoDev's ICT and Health initiative please contact Valerie D'Costa, infoDev Program Manager, at

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