7 Feb 2007

Lack of technical assistance frustrates Cook Islands hospital telecommunications project

3:08 pm on 7 February 2007

An innovative telecommunications project in the Cook Islands is experiencing some initial issues.

Telecom Cook Islands and the Ministry of Health are rolling out a project to link all outer island hospitals with the main hospital on Rarotonga in an online network, known as Telehealth.

Telecom's marketing manager, Keren Aviu, says the idea behind the project is to enable doctors in isolated hospitals to have quick access to information rather than having to phone or fax.

She says so far the hospitals on Atiu, Mangaia and Mauke have been linked in and within six months, all the outer islands should be connected.

But, Dr Don George on Atiu says while it's a good idea and he would like to use it, there are issues.

"On this island, there is no technician who can repair the computers or connect the internet. They have to come from Rarotonga but right now we have a couple of computers here which don't work. One is only useful as a typewriter and the other one is dead."

Dr George says he has 24 hour access via the phone or fax to Rarotonga which works well.