PHOTO - President of Ericsson Malaysia & Sri Lanka president Janne Laitala.
Feasibility studies by Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) show that an initiative from telecommunications solutions provider Ericsson could enhance healthcare, mobile communications and computing services in rural Malaysia.
A three-month assessment, feasibility impact (NAFI) study by doctors from the Faculty of Medicine and Health Services and The Centre of Excellence for Rural Informatics (CoERI) at UNIMAS show that Ericsson's Mobile Innovation Village (MIV) model would equip rural communities with remote health monitoring, mobile IP (Internet protocol) communications and cloud computing components.
Speaking on 5 January 2012, Ericsson Malaysia & Sri Lanka president Janne Laitala said the study focused on three areas - learning & education; remote health monitoring; and group communications - in a local agricultural community of 90 households in Kampung Serasot of the Bau District in Sarawak.
Laitala said the aim of the MIV model was to use mobile and communications technologies to enrich the lives of rural communications and was inspired by the Millennium Village projects under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
"Thanks to the impact study conducted by UNIMAS as part of this project, we are able to assess ICT applications that can benefit rural communities," he said. "This way, we can improve services for replication in other remote areas, and replicate similar projects with corporate partners and Malaysian government agencies to make broadband, computing, communications and healthcare services available, accessible and affordable to all."
MIMOS' tablet PC
The UNIMAS study found that only 11 percent of the participants had used the Internet before, with 50 percent having had a family member who has used the Internet before, said Laitala.
"The remaining 39 percent had only heard of the Internet prior to the study," he said. "However, the students and teachers participating in the study were receptive and positive that Internet access would be beneficial, with 100 percent of students interested to continue with the eLearning System, and teachers who felt that the system would help bridge the rural-urban gap."
"The educational content was made accessible via Ericsson's PC as a Service (PCaaS) cloud-computing solution, using a tablet PC linked to a mobile-broadband network," said Laitala. "The tablet PC is locally designed by MIMOS, an agency of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and manufactured by i-Solutions and Computing. Ericsson is working closely with various local agencies and companies to collaborate and augment their solutions."
"Under Remote Health Monitoring, MIV enabled people have their health monitored remotely by doctors using Ericsson's mobile health solution," he said. "Patients were able to send off their weight and blood-pressure readings as well as electrocardiograms (ECGs) for analysis and management, thus saving them from having to travel for hours to the nearest city to get to a doctor - in the past five years, 55 percent of the participating respondents had sought medical attention for malaria and another 27 percent for dengue, with 42 percent making their way to a public clinic and 40 percent seeking attention at a government hospital."
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