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Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

ICT in Medical Education in Trinidad and Tobago

ICT in Medical Education in Trinidad and Tobago
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Author(s): Marilyn Lewis (The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Tobago)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 6
Source title: Medical Informatics: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools, and Applications
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Joseph Tan (McMaster University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-050-9.ch089


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Information and communication technology (ICT) allows users to access information without taking geographic position into account. These users are also unconstrained by time, volume, or format of the information. ICT applications have enormous potential as a tool for aiding development in countries such as Trinidad and Tobago. Telemedicine, which can provide medical services to persons in isolated places, in emergencies, to the homebound, or the physically challenged, is but one example. Mansell and Wehn de Montalvo (1998) noted that “ICT applications facilitate telemedicine” (p. 85), and that “economic development can be fostered by tele-working and tele-services in some developing countries” (p. 83). The twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago lies at the southern end of the Caribbean chain of islands, approximately seven miles off the northeast coast of Venezuela. The area covers 1,864 square miles (5,128 sq. km.), with a population of approximately 1.5 million. The economy of this small nation state is based mainly on petroleum and gas-based industries, but there is a growing service sector. PAHO figures (2002a, b) show a highly literate population with an overall adult literacy rate of 98.5% (males at 99.1% and females at 97.9%). Transshipment and telecommunications facilities contribute to this country’s position as the most industrialized in the Caribbean. The country’s technical capacity and access to information have grown enormously in recent years. Telecommunication tools extend to the vast majority of the population. Per capita GDP stands at US$8,500. There is a shortage of medical staff in general, with the ratio of doctors to inhabitants at 7.5 per 10,000. Shortages in primary health care are more acute than in other areas and have resulted in the employment of retired nurses and the recruitment of professional staff from other countries, particularly from Nigeria, India, and more recently, from Cuba. Trinidad and Tobago therefore stands poised to benefit from further development by fully embracing ICT, especially in the areas of education and medicine.

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