Wellbeing in an Information Age

by Ernest Armah

The world is travelling faster. So much is happening within a short time. Technological advancement in transport and communication has allowed for easy movement of both people and ideas. The time to acquire a global outlook and cultivate an attitude of constant-and-never-ending improvement in knowledge acquisition and execution has never been urgently important until now.

This is the information age. A product of globalization.

There are some who are scared about what this age brings. Thoughts on possible cultural attrition, big states and corporations dominating smaller ones, outsourcing of cheap labor force as well as crusades by anti-global governance and Environment activists are some of the salient criticisms against globalization.

I think these are understandable yet disjointed blows. Every human system or order lack perfection. And what we have done over the years is to choose the systems which offer the highest dividend, lesser evil. The status quo should be maintained so far as it supports the greater good.

Especially in the area of health.

In Ghana, the power of technology has been being harnessed for global health. Mpedigree network, a social entrepreneurial establishment is using mobile and web technologies to secure medicines against faking, counterfeiting and diversion. Also, the Grameen Foundation is using mobile applications to advance the quality of maternal health and childcare. Through these media, the lives of mothers, children and sick persons have been protected.

Aside these breakthroughs, telecommunication companies provide primary health care services through SMS subscriptions. There is no dispute about the importance of primary health care (PHC). As defined by the World Health Organization in 1978, PHC is essential health care based on practical, scientifically sound, and socially acceptable method and technology; universally accessible to all in the community through their full participation; at an affordable cost; and geared toward self-reliance and self-determination. Prevention is the key word in PHC.

Through these SMS subscriptions, clients are informed on healthy eating habits, importance of physical exercise, psychological health and many more. It is very easy to take for granted this progress. Gone were the days when people have to trek miles to access health information.

And prior to the advent of these technologies, we have witnessed the needless death of thousands of people from fake and sub-standard medicines; and miscarriages, maternal morbidity and mortality from poor health services; and sheer ignorance. Sad stories of this nature are still with us but the numbers have decreased.