||This paper examines the impact of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) on health using the data of 61 countries between 2000 and 2009 from the World Bank. The ICT variables considered in this paper include internet, fixed phones, and mobile phones. Based on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of the United Nations, we select several health variables and examine the impact of ICT on these variables. These variables include life expectancy at birth, infant mortality rate, under-five mortality rate, maternal mortality ratio, and prevalence of HIV. The estimation strategies are the pooling OLS model, the fixed effect model, and the random effect model.|
The empirical results suggest that ICT indeed plays a significant role in improving the health level of a country. ICT effectively decreases infant mortality rates and children mortality rates, and also increases life expectancy. This finding supports the viewpoints of United Nations (UN), World Health Organization (WHO), World Bank, and International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that ICT has great potential in improving a country’s health. The finding also confirms the arguments of several literatures, including McNamara (2007) and Lucas (2008), that ICT can lead to a more effective health system. In addition, we also find that fixed phones and mobile phones, which have more powerful functions in communicating and have greater flexibility, help decrease deaths due to acute diseases or emergencies; while internet displays more profound impact on improving health with the accumulation of time.
Our results suggest that adopting and promoting ICT is an effective way for developing countries and less-developed countries to enhance the level of health of people. We also expect that ICT can help these countries to meet at least part of the Millennium Development Goals.