14 December 2009
Dr. Kamel and Dr. El-Gabaly Inaugurate ICICT 2009, Witness Signing of two Cooperation Protocols

Minister of Communications and Information Technology Dr. Tarek Kamel and Minister of Health Dr. Hatem El-Gabaly inaugurated today the seventh International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies (ICICT 2009) held from 14–16 December in Cairo.

Organized by the Information Technology Institute (ITI) in cooperation with the IEEE Section in Egypt under the title "Human Capital Development for Progress," the conference resumes last year's discussions.

ICICT 2009 aims to confer the issue of human resources in ICT whose importance turned into the focus of all parties concerned parties in the field.

Success stories and experiences of Egyptian and international companies in Egypt and abroad will be presented during the conference.

In addition, the meeting will shed light on the latest scientific and applied research studies on HR, discussing expectations and challenges facing Egypt in developing the field.

Dr. Kamel stated that the significance of the conference this year is derived of its discussions on challenges and means of expanding the promising field of business process outsourcing (BPO).

Such an export-driven industry needs well-trained and qualified human calibers to help Egypt realize its target, Dr. Kamel added. The Egyptian outsourcing exports has amounted to $850 million so far. Egypt targets 1.1 bn pounds of exports by 2010. 

The outsourcing industry imposed itself on the international agenda. Developing this industry has become inevitable and a basic step to deal with the aftermath of the World Financial Crisis.

"Hence it has become necessary that we make the most of the available resources including human capital to overcome the crisis, though its impact on ICT is less severe than other sectors," Dr. Kamel noted. 

ITI Director Dr. Mohamed Salem noted that the conference this year further highlights efforts exerted to boost HR and raise the competitive edge of Egyptian human capital in the international market.

The event is concurrent to the rapid growth of ICT witnessed in Egypt during the past years, he added. "ICICT 2009 is the output of the endeavors of ITI in human resource envelopment."

MCIT had adopted this strategic trend out of its leading role in raising the social awareness of the importance of ICT.   

Several experts from all over the world including representatives of national authorities, ICT companies and ICT researchers and leaders have taken part in the conference.

Moreover, about 400 specialists from Egypt, Arab and western countries have participated in the event where a panel discussion on human development in ICT is scheduled.

Representatives of leading international companies, Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA), National Telecommunication Institute (NTI) and Ministry of Higher Education and State for Scientific Research in addition to a number of visiting Egyptian professors will also contribute to the panel discussion.

The conference hosts industry and education leaders to emphasize the collaboration and integration between the two sectors. The output of such joint efforts can be materialized through EDUEgypt supervised by ITI.

Thousands of university students are trained through this project to be able to join the employment market once they graduate. The project reflects the State's increasing interest in the development of human capital.

Meanwhile, Dr. Kamel and Dr. El-Gabaly witnessed the signing of two cooperation protocol agreements between Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and Ministry of Heath.

The first protocol was signed between ITI, an MCIT affiliate, and High Committee of Medical Specialties at Ministry of Health. It aims to offer advanced training to distinguished calibers specialized in health informatics that are capable of meeting the increasing need of the health ministry in this domain.

This will enable and put into force the role of MCIT in all operations related to decision making at Ministry of Health, which will be positively reflected on the standard of health care services citizens are provided. 

Based on the agreement, ITI will offer training and consultancy services as well as design the educational curriculum for the joint Fellowship Program of Health Informatics. In addition, ITI will prepare educational materials for distance learning, tests and training as well as supervise exams.

For its part, the committee will plan the scientific syllabus and regularly revise it, authorize modifications, set assessment criteria of students, monitor implementation and follow up on all processes related to the program then evaluate the program and make the it ready to be accredited on the national and international levels. 

The second protocol has to do with the development of health-care services via the use of IT systems. Its purpose is to carry out a strategic plan for using ICT in Egypt's health sector and improve Egyptian Ambulance Services Authority, which entails a number of programs for receiving calls, transferring reports and complains to the authority as well as manage the fleet of ambulances. Also a status tracking and control center will be established at the authority. 

The Health Ministry hospitals will be automated including the improvement of the National Network for State-funded Treatment in addition to a project for medicine control system and hospitals management systems.

The cooperation, additionally, entails Telemedicine and Mobile Health Applications involving Women's Mobile Health Unit Project, National PACS Project and digital medical files comprising those of the National Cancer Registry Program and Family Medicine Network.

The agreement protocol comes in the context of constant development and the ongoing efforts of Ministry of Health to raise the efficiency of doctors and health sector performance, utilizing ICT to support decision-making and raise performance in the administrative sector of the ministry. Dr. El-Gabaly stated that the two agreements go in line with Ministry of Health's plan to well established systems for health informatics in order to serve patients and support medical decision making.

There is a need of training physicians and health care providers to create distinguished calibers to work in medical information management. This will facilitate communication and information transfer among the different medical sectors as well as help avoid duplication of efforts and cost in managing medical records.

The above targets can be achieved through supervision and contribution to encrypting, storing and analyzing records and diseases to determine the rates and prevalence of the various illnesses. It will also show the efficiency of treatment and its relation to the cost and, which will help improve health care services.  

The project will develop knowledge and medical libraries through offering scientific research services via medical databases based on evidence for doctors and decision makers.

This collaboration, Dr. El-Gabaly noted, will derive the first fellowship in health informatics, a new international specialty.

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