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Members of the HITIHE project.
As part of the initiative, WikiTropica, a tool that provides health professionals with up-to-date information on infectious and tropical diseases, has been launched.
The final meeting of the HITIHE (Health Information and Technology for Improved Health Education in Southeast Asia) project took place in Antwerp (Belgium) in the first week of October. HITIHE is an international training project for health workers, academics and health librarians and fosters collaboration, facilitating the exchange of resources and educational tools, with the aim of improving health education and the quality of health care in Southeast Asia. HITIHE has the collaboration of the Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) together with several higher education institutes in Belgium (Institute of Tropical Medicine), Cambodia (Cambodia Institute of Technology, University of Health Sciences, National Institute of Public Health), Indonesia (Universitas Gadjah Mada and Universitas Sebelas Maret), Spain (Sant Joan de Déu, ISGlobal) and the Netherlands (University of Maastricht). The project has been possible thanks to the support of the European Union's Erasmus+ Programme and the Belgian government's General Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid.
A few weeks ago it was announced that the online platform WikiTropica, which is one of the milestones of the project, was launched as a result of the project. WikiTropica provides health professionals with up-to-date information on infectious and tropical diseases to enable accurate diagnoses. This is especially crucial in low- and middle-income countries with a high disease burden and limited resources. The platform not only provides essential health information, but also serves as a training tool.
WikiTropica and the other educational tools developed will be available continuously and free of charge after the end of the project, and the contents will be regularly updated by the project participants. Furthermore, the ultimate goal of the consortium members is that these resources will be dynamic and capable of incorporating new content, and that they will allow interaction with users. In this sense, one of the activities of the Antwerp meeting was a workshop with an external evaluation team to detect areas for improvement in terms of accessibility and use of the platforms.
Dr. María Espiau, paediatrician at the Infectious Pathology and Immunodeficiency Unit of Paediatrics at Vall d'Hebron University Hospital and researcher in the Infection and Immunity in Paediatric Patients group at VHIR, which leads this project at Vall d'Hebron, concludes that "tools like these can make a significant change in healthcare in low-income countries, but also in environments like ours, where the education system requires new ways of teaching and learning".
Paediatric Infectious Diseases and Immunodeficiencies Unit,
Children's Hospital and Woman's Hospital
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