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A Case for Telehealth: Leveraging the Telehealth Model to Reduce Structural Health System Barriers in Uganda Open Access

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The ease with which members of a community can access health care services is a key factor in determining the general health status of their bigger community as a whole. According to the 2018 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP), healthy equity is achieved when each individual has the opportunity to achieve their full health potential. Furthermore, the NCCDPHP (2018) states that “Health inequities are reflected in differences in length of life; quality of life; rates of disease, disability, and death; severity of disease; and access to treatment”. Needless to say, developing effective health solutions necessitates attention to promoting programs that focus on equity, access, knowledge, treatment, distribution of health facilities, placement of health providers, health outcomes, and allocation of resources. Transportation barriers including the average long distance traveled to access health care and poor transportation infrastructure, and the lack of health skilled providers are often alluded to as the major obstacles in expanding health care services in remote areas within developing countries. This study discusses the systemic problems in Uganda’s healthcare delivery system with particular reference to maternal health. A methodical review of the literature and the analysis of the 2012 Access, Bottlenecks, Costs, and Equity (ABCE) survey of health facilities in Uganda confirm the widespread reality of a generally fatigued and underfunded healthcare sector that could benefit from a disruptive solution. By recognizing that this research was bound by scope of coverage; potential areas for further research are presented and limitations of the research are discussed. The purpose of this study approach is to help advance the incubation of innovative technology-enabled solutions within the healthcare services delivery system. Telehealth solutions are offered as the disruptive remedy that can help to close the health inequity gap between regions and income, thereby helping to expand access and coverage of maternal health care in Uganda.

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