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by Luis Falcon

The first International Workshop on e-Health for Emerging Economies – IWEEE 2010 – has been a success.
In these three days, we have had the oportunity to learn the reality from personalities coming all different parts the world: Uganda, Canada, Belgium, United States, Rwanda, Spain, Argentina, Colombia, Germany and Switzerland.
We heard Ans de Jager (War Child) talking about the need of energy for the kids in Northern Uganda; Carlos Travieso (ULPGC) using biometrics to identify aborigins in Costa Rica for Medical purposes; Pedro Herranz (Caritas) explaining the huge gap among the “North and the South”; Dr Caminero discussing the links between poberty and tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS; Cesar Brod and Corinto Meffe (Brazilian Government) talked about how free software is being used in the public sector. Dr. Moses Isyagi explained how they’ve been doing telepathology in rural areas of Uganda. Dr Carmen Martín (Red Cross) talked about the efforts being made to help the elderly and the people with special needs. 

On the technical side, Mark Höller and Thomas Karopka (German IT Center) talked about adapting Medical for Nursing and the need for convergence. Norman Young (Clear Canvas) showed us a demo how open source is working in the field of Radiology. Raúl Zambrano (United Nations) talked about the rol of the United Nations Development Program and the importance of free software as a public good. Rayco and Alfonso García (ULPGC – OSL) talked about the COREi project. We had the visit of Dr. Bernardo Agudelo and Juan José Vélez, from the University of Antioquía, Colombia, who demo the use of free software in a red-code protocol. Dr. Etienne Saliez explain the need of having a working group that include multi-disciplinary team of doctors and scientists. 

Finally I talked about our NGO, GNU Solidario, and the Medical project in Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The slogan for this congress was “The Human Factor”, a key concept missing from many of other e-Health events. IWEEE 2010 has been focused on the human factor, considering that health is a human right, and that all the contributing factors – education, access to technology, employment, nutrition, family affection, energy, peace, … – must be also met in order to have healthy individuals and societies. The round table discussion among the multi-disciplinary representatives (NGOs, government, church and UN) gave all the participants the opportunity not only to expose their realities, but to discuss possible solutions to the most urgent needs.
Organizing an event like IWEEE is a great challenge, and, even though we had been working non-stop for a year there where high expectations that we had to deliver. Finally, I must say that those expectations have been met, and that we have been asked to organize IWEEE 2011, again in Canary Islands, which we have already started to do. My gratitude to Fundación La Caixa, the University of Las Palmas (specially to Fernando Real ), Consejería de Sanidad (who provided the Hospital Auditorium) , Colegio de Médicos de Las Palmas, Gran Canaria Turism and Innovation Bureau, Cabildo de Gran Canaria ( specially to Carmelo Ramírez ) and to Juan Montero from UNESCO. 

My gratitude goes to all of you who have participated and donated your time, experience and knowledge, putting them in the hands who need it most. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in IWEEE 2011.