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Foreign body (5) Online consultations and referrals (3)

HIFA Quotation: 

It is an indictment of the global health community that frontline health professionals like Dr Massimo Serventi should have difficulty to identify appropriate referral mechanisms for patients (such as the child with inhaled foreign body). Ideally, such referral mechanisms should be widely known across the health system of the country, so that it is clear where (for example) a child might be referred for a specialist procedure such as bronchoscopy. I realise this is easier said than done, particularly in countries such as Central African Republic, and this is why it is also vital that health professionals like Massimo have virtual access to advice from expert health professionals (including in neighbouring high-level facilities) through networks specifically designed for this purpose... The aim must be progressively to realise a world where every health professional should have access to the information they need to provide appropriate care to patients, including expert virtual consultation, and including relevant information for decisions on physical referral to higher-level healthcare facilities. This should be readily achievable and should be specifically included as an essential part of the concept of Universal Health Coverage whereby every citizen worldwide should have access to the health services they need without suffering financial hardship. 


Date of HIFA message: 
Monday, May 11, 2015
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Author Name: 
Neil Pakenham-Walsh
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HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is the coordinator of the HIFA campaign (Healthcare Information For All) and co-director of the Global Healthcare Information Network. He is also currently chair of the Dgroups Foundation (, a partnership of 18 international development organisations promoting dialogue for international health and development. He started his career as a hospital doctor in the UK, and has clinical experience as an isolated health worker in rural Ecuador and Peru.  For the last 20 years he has been committed to the global challenge of improving the availability and use of relevant, reliable healthcare information for health workers and citizens in low- and middle-income countries. He is also interested in the wider potential of inclusive, interdisciplinary communication platforms to help address global health and international development challenges. He has worked with the World Health Organization, the Wellcome Trust, Medicine Digest and INASP (International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications). He is based near Oxford, UK.  Twitter: @hifa_org FB:     neil.pakenham-walsh AT 

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