Worldspace Foundation, SATELLIFE Create First Public Health Channel For Entire African Continent

Lisa Slifer-Mbacke, Holly Ladd, Roye Bourke
2000-05-17

Press Release: WorldSpace Foundation and SATELLIFE announced today the launch of a new health service that will provide a steady stream of material to assist medical professionals in Africa in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases that are ravaging the continent.

This unique new service, called the Public Health Channel, will overcome the barriers of poverty, geography, and unreliable communications infrastructures to help stop the decimation and maiming of Africa's population from such diseases as HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis.

"WorldSpace Foundation is very pleased to join forces with SATELLIFE on this important undertaking. The ability to widely disseminate information about the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS and other diseases is the very reason the WorldSpace system was created," said Gracia Hillman, WorldSpace Foundation president and CEO. "After seeing the effect of information scarcity on the AIDS epidemic in Africa, WorldSpace founder Noah Samara became committed to creating a new form of media for the sake of sharing life-saving knowledge with underserved populations." Noah Samara is currently the chairman and CEO of WorldSpace Corporation and member of the Board of Directors of WorldSpace Foundation.

"The goal of SATELLIFE's information services is to connect the health practitioner in the developing world to a range of high-quality information resources by utilizing the most affordable, efficient and appropriate technology," stated SATELLIFE executive director, Holly Ladd. "The Public Health Channel will employ the technology of the WorldSpace system to exponentially increase the amount of information health professionals in Africa can access-information that most health practitioners in the United States and Europe take for granted."

The Public Health Channel will be launched in four countries: Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia. After an initial testing period, the project will expand to other African countries as funding becomes available. "We are limited only by our resources," said Ms. Ladd. "We envision a time in the near future when the Public Health Channel is available to every doctor and nurse throughout Africa, no matter how remote their location." WorldSpace receivers will be placed in hospitals, medical schools, medical libraries, health clinics, health ministries and research settings.

WorldSpace receivers provide crystal clear digital audio channels, and can also serve as a modem, downloading text-based material and dynamic images from the AfriStarô satellite directly to computers. The WorldSpace system transcends the difficulties of unreliable telephone systems at a fraction of the cost of most Internet-based projects.

"WorldSpace Foundation is the embodiment of the WorldSpace network's commitment to social development and humanitarianism," said Ms. Hillman. "We work with NGOs and other humanitarian groups to bring important, life-saving information to people who are disadvantaged by poverty, rural location and the digital divide."

SATELLIFE is an international not-for-profit humanitarian organization whose mission is to improve health by enhancing connectivity among health professionals via electronic communications and exchanges of information in the areas of public health, medicine, and the environment. A special emphasis is placed on areas of the world where poor communications, economic conditions, or natural disasters limit access. SATELLIFE produces two e-mail publications, HealthNet News and HealthNet News-AIDS, which features copyrighted material with permission from 21 medical publishers, and includes distinguished journals as the British Medical Journal, The Lancet and East African Medical Journal and others. SATELLIFE also operates and maintains several global electronic discussion groups on topics of relevance to the developing world.

WorldSpace Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization created in 1997. Headquartered in Washington, DC, its work encompasses Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and the Caribbean. WorldSpace Foundation has 5% of the channel capacity on the three WorldSpace Corporation satellites for non-commercial social development and distance learning programming.






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