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Africa-India satellite gets a nod in Nigeria

afrol News, 22 April - The India funded project to link up African Union countries with Indian hospitals and universities through satellite will be expanded to Nigeria by June this year following a successful pilot project in Ethiopia.

The US$100 million ambitious project, aims to connect universities and hospitals of all 53 countries of the African Union with Indian counterparts for tele-medicine and tele-education activities.

According to the statement from India, Ethiopia which was the first African state to accept to participate, the pilot was successful with increased interaction and networking between hospitals and universities between the two states. The project uses video conferencing and voice over Internet Protocol services such as Skype for communication.

The report said students and teachers at Addis Ababa University and Haramaya University in Alemaya, Ethiopia, have been working through the satellite with the New Delhi-based Indira Gandhi National Open University since Ethiopia's US$ 2.12 million pilot project was launched in Addis Ababa in July 2007.

“The first intake of distance learning students will graduate in June,” the statement also added.

Reports have said Ethiopia's Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa and the rural Nekempte Hospital have reportedly been consulting with Indian heart specialists at the CARE hospital in Hyderabad and the Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospital chain., stating that the technology can also allow share of experiences by the doctors.

Satellite ground stations are being installed at universities and hospitals in Cameroon, Egypt, Malawi and Niger. Botswana, Burundi, Djibouti, Mozambique and Uganda are also scheduled to join the network later this year, with the Comoros islands, Cote D'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia following by the end of 2009, according to the statement.

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