WITH a mobile penetration rate of 102% more Zimbabweans are now using the internet as a source of medicinal help.
Men constitute a bigger number of this because they shy away from going to doctors. The mobile phone is now the mode of accessing the internet more than any other device. The internet has become an invaluable source of information and support when it comes to seeking medical help.
The internet empowers individuals in this regard in several ways. These include;
Access to medical knowledge: The internet provides vast amounts of medical information that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection. Websites, online databases, and resources like PubMed allow people to research symptoms, diseases, treatments, and medications. This access to medical knowledge enables individuals to educate themselves about various health conditions and make more informed decisions.
Telemedicine and online consultations: The internet has facilitated the rise of telemedicine, allowing people to consult with healthcare professionals remotely. Through video calls or online platforms, individuals can seek medical advice, discuss symptoms, and receive prescriptions or treatment recommendations without having to visit a physical clinic. This is particularly beneficial for individuals in remote areas or those with limited mobility.
Health communities and support groups: Online platforms and forums provide space for individuals to connect with others who have similar health concerns. These communities allow people to share their experiences, seek advice, and provide emotional support. Being part of such communities can be particularly helpful for individuals with rare diseases, chronic conditions, or mental health issues, as they can find a sense of belonging and understanding.
Access to medical resources: The internet offers access to a wide range of medical resources, including reputable medical journals, research studies, clinical guidelines, and patient education materials. This availability of resources allows individuals to stay up to date with the latest medical advancements, understand treatment options, and learn about preventive measures.
Online pharmacies and medication information Many legitimate online pharmacies provide convenient access to medications, often at competitive prices. These platforms allow individuals to order prescription drugs and have them delivered to their doorstep. Additionally, the internet provides information about various medications, including their uses, side effects, and interactions, enabling individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare.
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Despite these advantages, it is important to exercise caution and critically evaluate the information found online. Always rely on reputable sources, consult healthcare professionals for personalised advice, and be mindful of potential misinformation or scams.
- Mutisi is the CEO of Hansole Investments (Pvt) Ltd. He is the current chairperson of Zimbabwe Information & Communication Technology, a division of Zimbabwe Institution of Engineers.