World Telehealth Initiative provides medical expertise to the world’s most vulnerable communities to build local capacity and deliver core health services, through a network of volunteer health care professionals supported with state-of-the-art technology.
"The World Telehealth Initiative is embarking on a core humanitarian cause to bring specialists to patients in areas of need throughout the world, and I’m thrilled InTouch Health and Direct Relief can help bring this to life. Rather than providing episodic support relying on traditional modes of transportation, WTI will enable sustained support by leveraging telehealth to bring clinical expertise to the regions it assists.”
– Yulun Wang, PhD,
World Telehealth Initiative Board Chairman
Founder, Chairman, and Chief Innovation Officer, InTouch Health
The World Health Organization (WHO) and World Bank report that half of the world’s population does not have access to essential healthcare services because those services are inaccessible, unavailable, unaffordable or of poor quality. Furthermore, the world faces a shortfall of more than 18 million health workers. The brain drain phenomenon (the migration of health care workers from countries with low-resources and immense need to areas of high-resources and greater personal opportunity) further contributes to the disparities of access to proper healthcare. In some regions of the world, there are either very few health care experts, or none at all.
The United States has a doctor/population ratio of 1/400. On the other end of the spectrum, Malawi has a ratio of 1/55,500. Many developing countries have thousands of people per doctor. In these regions, millions of deaths occur every year from conditions that would easily be treated in developed countries. Many of these deaths are caused by lack of access to medicine and health care experts.
Non-profit organizations around the world are trying to address this problem. Some organizations deliver medical supplies to these geographic locations of need, whereas other organizations coordinate and fund health care experts to travel for periods of philanthropic work.
The unfilled chasm left by these solutions are:
medical supplies alone solve only part of the problem, since often the local clinician is untrained in using these supplies effectively; and
with traveling health care experts, costs of these trips are high and their limited stays do not create sustainable improvements in these societies.
A new method to solve the ongoing healthcare problem is required.