WiRED International Provides Healthcare Information to Iraq's Medical Community
Gary W. Selnow, Ph.D.
This rapid-start, two-stage project will provide Iraq's healthcare community with access to information about the latest developments in human medicine. The Medical Information Centers will offer comprehensive medical e-libraries on CD-ROMS that contain educational, statistical and reference information drawn from universities, government sources, pharmaceutical companies and
non-governmental organizations. The core database has been tested in Central Europe and Africa under grants, in part, from the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Regional enhancements will be appended to the core database to meet the specific needs of the medical community in Iraq.
CDs will quick-start the medical education process, and in time the Centers will add Internet access when the appropriate infrastructure is locally available. The first stage of this project will provide a modest test in three Baghdad-area hospitals (two of them teaching hospitals). This start-up phase is funded by the U.S. Global Technology Corps, a program of the U.S. Department of State. The second stage is expected to expand the number of Centers. The extent of this rollout will depend on
funding levels currently under consideration by U.S. Government agencies.
During the past several decades, professionals staffing the Iraqi health care system and medical students at all levels of study have been denied unfettered access to information about health care
developments widely available in open societies. Internet connections don't currently exist and libraries are either hopelessly out of date or they have been ransacked during recent conflicts. This project will meet the medical community's information needs with speed and substance. In
addition to the infusion of information that will result in a rapid improvement of health care in Iraq, this project will demonstrate the generosity and goodwill of Americans and offer a tangible display of our abiding concern for the Iraqi people.