Press Releases

    UNIS/OS/354
    22 June 2007

    United Nations to Hold Training Course on Satellite Technology for Telehealth/Telemedicine

         VIENNA, 22 June (UN Information Service) -- The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), within the framework of the United Nations Programme on Space Applications, will hold a five-day training course on the use of satellite technology for telehealth/telemedicine for the benefit of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The training course is being organized in cooperation with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and co-sponsored by the Government of Mexico, and will take place in Mexico City, Mexico, from 25 to 29 June 2007.

           With the use of state-of-the-art space technology services, telehealth/telemedicine is an area receiving worldwide attention. Telehealth/telemedicine uses computer and telecommunications technologies, including satellite communications, to bring medical experts into virtual contact with patients in remote and rural areas, thus avoiding a costly relocation to hospitals in urban locales, which could prove detrimental to the patients' health.

           Despite the fact that the use of telemedicine technologies is growing, there is often little or no harmonization among the telehealth/telemedical programmes among various countries. The training course is aimed at assisting the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to evaluate the existing and emerging technologies related to telehealth/telemedicine and to integrate efforts in the region so that the telehealth/telemedicine programmes could be shared and exploited by the entire region, thus enhancing positive impacts on public health.

           The Training Course will provide participants with knowledge in operating equipment using satellite technologies for medical/health care applications, as well as hands-on experience of using diagnostic equipment for telehealth/telemedicine services in hospitals, contributing to the sustainable operation of the telemedicine systems in their respective home countries. The participants will, among other things, learn about: (i) the telemedicine concept and systems, including efficiency benefits; and (ii) the infrastructure required to connect the medical centre of excellence with remote hospitals.

           The Training Course will also address topics including: (i) Tele-consultations, (ii) Tele-education for medical professionals, (iii) National and regional telemedicine programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, (iv) Customized medical software and diagnostic instruments compatible with commercial very small aperture terminals (VSATs), (v) Mobile telemedicine, (vi) Emergency telemedicine, (vii) Legal and ethical aspects of telehealth, (viii) Regional cooperation in telehealth; and (ix) Follow-up projects/activities. 

         Approximately 75 participants from the following countries, territories and international organizations are expected to attend the Training Course: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Montserrat,  Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, United States, Venezuela,   Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), World Health Organization (WHO) and OOSA.

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            The United Nations Programme on Space Applications is implemented by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs and works to improve the use of space science and technology for the economic and social development of all nations, in particular developing countries. Under the Programme, the Office conducts training courses, workshops, seminars and other activities on applications and capacity building in subjects such as remote sensing, communications, satellite meteorology, search and rescue, basic space science, satellite navigation and space law.

        The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA) implements the decisions of the General Assembly and of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and its two Subcommittees, the Scientific and Technical Subcommittee and the Legal Subcommittee. The Office is responsible for promoting international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space, and assisting developing countries in using space science and technology. Located in Vienna, Austria, OOSA maintains a website at http://www.unoosa.org/ .


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    For information, please contact:

    Romana Kofler
    Associate Programme Officer
    Telephone: (+43-1) 26060-4962
    E-mail: romana.kofler@unvienna.org