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EPIAIM (Epidemiology and Telematics) study and workshop

The EPIAIM study is an initiative of the telematics programme for health care, AIM (1990-1994), Area 3 of the specific programme of telematics systems in areas of general interest. The study seeks to explore current prospects concerning the health sector and the use of telemat...
The EPIAIM study is an initiative of the telematics programme for health care, AIM (1990-1994), Area 3 of the specific programme of telematics systems in areas of general interest. The study seeks to explore current prospects concerning the health sector and the use of telematics technologies in Africa and Latin America.

Knowledge resulting from this action is expected to contribute to a better European understanding of prevalent situations and trends in these fields, and open up opportunities for further cooperation between the European Community and the regions involved.

Previous international cooperation carried out by AIM has centred on areas such as the Unites States, Canada and Japan. The exchange of information and experiences between these countries and the Community RTD programmes appeared to be of appreciable mutual interest. From the point of view of AIM, interest has not only focused on the technological aspects, but also on the examination of the issues of health care systems, and organizational aspects of the provision of care.

As a consequence of the commitment expressed by the Community with regard to Central and Eastern Europe, some steps have also been taken to explore cooperation in this area. AIM has, for example, sponsored a first successful workshop in Bulgaria with the support of the PHARE programme.

Cooperation with the developing world was initiated in 1992 by the participation of AIM representatives in the Ministerial World Conference on Malaria (Amsterdam), and the implementation of the MANTEAU project. This project, with the support of the Training Unit of the World Health Organization (WHO), brings together several partners from the medical and educational fields as well as organizations involved in aid for development. The aim is to set up a framework for the diffusion of knowledge and the gathering of epidemiological information, with the help of telematics, on malaria and other tropical diseases.

The forthcoming EPIAIM study, which starts on 1 December 1993, will provide continuation of previous AIM actions and act as a bridge to more comprehensive future international cooperation activities. It has three main objectives:

- To produce an "instant picture" or blueprint of the conditions and situations within the health sector in Africa and Latin America, using certain main epidemiological indicators;

- To establish the methodology that could or should be used to investigate the diffusion and utilization of telematics systems in the health care sector in the two geographical regions (identification of key players from the health care sector and the industries or service providers, inventory of sources of information, etc.);

- To provide key case-studies resulting from easily accessible information from both regions as examples of the type of prospects these countries are anticipating.

Finally, the study will present and discuss its findings in an open international event, with the participation of key actors from both regions and from the Community, and will prepare specific publications based on the outcome of these discussions.

EPIAM is to be carried out under the coordination of a Study Manager (Prof. J. Levett, President of ASPHER, the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region and Dean of Athens School of Public Health) with the main part of the work undertaken by two expert-rapporteurs, one in each of the two regions (Dr. P. Kadama, Head of the Health Planning Unit of the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Uganda, and Prof. E. Mazzafero, Director of the School of Public Health of the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina). The study leader and the expert-rapporteurs will be assisted, if necessary, by associated scientists and/or support staff in their own country/region.

An important role will be assumed by the Advisory Board. This will be chaired by a WHO representative and will include representatives of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), the MANTEAU project, the French Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM-CLORA), the Coordinating Committee of Non-Governmental Organizations to the EC, and the Spanish Department of Research and Training of the Ministry of Health.

Other institutions and persons will have the opportunity to be informed and contribute to the study via an Extended Consultative Group, including several EC Commission services and persons from other EC Member State organizations.

An international workshop presenting the results of the study is to take place on 27-28 June 1994 (this date is to be confirmed: alternative dates are 6-7 or 7-8 September 1994). The location for this meeting has not yet been decided.

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