Emerging ICT Challenges on Provision of Online HIV/AIDS Advisory Services

Emerging ICT Challenges on Provision of Online HIV/AIDS Advisory Services

Simon Samwel Msanjila (Mzumbe University, Tanzania)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-3986-7.ch013


In order to address the research challenges related to spreading, prevention, and treatment of HIV/AIDS it is necessary to look at it from different angles. Considering a single aspect on established initiatives, such as technological or political concerns that have been adopted in research, leaves a “none complete and integrated picture” on challenges related to the provision of services for combating HIV/AIDS. This chapter addresses this aspect by considering a multi-perspective approach and proposes a set of challenges for each perspective. It also considers the technological perspective of provision of HIV/AIDS advisory services and presents challenges towards designing the proposed system.
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1. Introduction

The initiatives to combat the spread of HIV/AIDS across African society have been following different approaches ranging from workshops and seminars to posters across streets. The main challenge has been on the dissemination of relevant information related to HIV/AIDS to the appropriate in demand users. In response to this challenge, for example in Tanzania, different methods and approaches (mostly face to face or physical contact) are now applied to support initiatives focused on providing knowledge related to the prevention and avoidance of the spread of HIV/AIDS in the society (Msanjila, 2011). However, the current advances in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have not been properly benefited in this area of activity and particularly in developing economy countries. Because of primitive methods for the provision of bundle of services in terms of packaged knowledge and information that have been used, young generations who are always faced with time scarcity, such as due to study pressure, are facing difficulty in getting or even missing the relevant information related to HIV/AIDS (Msanjila, 2011). It is a fact and considering the way it is practiced, in Tanzania for example, by joining universities, the students change their life style from being closely monitored by parents and secondary school regulations to fully free social life. Their desire to quickly learn ICT technologies for the purpose of making themselves up-to-date with time as well as matching the modern university life could be an advantage on the adoption of the proposed solution related to the provision of HIV/AIDS advisory services through online system (Msanjila, 2011).

It has been proved both in research and practice that Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) play an essential role in supporting daily life in today's digital society (Rabelo, et al., 2006). These technological solutions are used everywhere now and had been reported as playing an important role in the delivery of better and more efficient healthcare and health-supportive services. The efficiency indicators can include speed for the delivery of services, full availability of services, consumed resources, cost for the acquired services, etc. Thus, ICT solutions can enhance communication between several actors such as society, doctors, pharmacists, and hospitals towards achieving the intended effective provision and acquisition of better health services (Msanjila, 2011). Electronic health (eHealth) is one dimension for which ICT solutions have proved to effectively work. With this technology the medical professionals can access medical records more easily, get immediate access to test results from the laboratory, and deliver prescriptions directly to pharmacists. Thus patients can get services such as advices related to their health while at home. Thus in same dimension, ICT solutions are also seen and becoming amenable solutions for enhancing the communication and advisory service provision in the society.

This chapter provides detailed challenges related to prevention of spreading HIV/AIDS as well as challenges related to treatment of AIDS. The presented challenges are classified into four perspective of social, economical, political and technological. The chapter then goes deep into the technological perspective of combating HIV/AIDS. Finally the chapter presents the requirement analysis and architectural design of the proposed system namely CIHAAS (Collaborative ICT enabled provision of HIV/AIDS Advisory Services) system.

Key Terms in this Chapter

HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus (a member of the retrovirus family) that causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive. Infection with HIV occurs by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk.

AIDS: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The illness interferes with the immune system making people with AIDS much more likely to get infections, including opportunistic infections and tumors that do not affect people with working immune systems. This susceptibility gets worse as the disease continues.

MACE: Is defined as a alliance of medical specialized organizations, individuals (medical experts and students) and related supporting institutions (e.g. health supporting organizations, government, Non-Government Organizations etc.), adhering to an established cooperation agreement, committing common operating principles and configuring interoperable infrastructures, with the main goal of increasing both their readiness and preparedness for collaborative provision of HIV/AIDS advisory services and supporting services to the society such as responding to complex queries of customer students on demanded HIV/AIDS advisory services.

Collaborative Network(CN): Is a network consisting of a variety of entities (e.g. organizations, people, machines) that are largely autonomous, geographically distributed, and heterogeneous in terms of their operating environment, culture, social capital and goals, but that collaborate to better achieve common or compatible goals, thus jointly generating value, and whose interactions are supported by computer network.

CIHAAS: Collaborative ICT enabled provision for HIV/AIDS Advisory Services.

TTME: Is an association of (legally) independent individual medical experts and medical specialized organizations that come together to join their efforts, initiatives and resources as well as share knowledge and skills to achieve the set goal on the provision of HIV/AIDS advisory services to a class of on demand young generations.

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