Kabelo L. Mauco, Richard E. Scott, and Maurice Mars
e-Health, e-Waste, WEE, e-Health readiness, Botswana
The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in health (e-health), has been proposed as a useful tool to increase efficiency in provision of healthcare. However, application and integration of e-Health still has many challenges, often resulting in implementation failure. Interested healthcare institutions in countries such as Botswana must first ensure their preparedness for the anticipated challenges brought about by programmes related to ICT use. Such preparedness is termed e-Health Readiness. Any ICT use creates e-waste (or Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment, WEEE), Therefore one criterion for judging a country’s degree of e-Health Readiness should be how it handles its e-waste. Generation of large quantities of e-waste will be an inevitable result of increased ICT consumption by the healthcare sector. This study assesses the status of e-waste management in Botswana, as one of the indicators that could be used to determine the degree of e-health readiness of Botswana. The study design was based on a literature review, and initial use of an adapted e-waste assessment questionnaire developed by the Swiss company Empa (Appendix 1).
This study shows Botswana still faces challenges with e-waste management. These challenges are similar to those faced by other developing countries: an absence of infrastructure for appropriate e-waste management, an absence of legislation dealing specifically with e-waste, an absence of a framework for end-of-life (EoL) product take-back or implementation of extended producer responsibility, limited public awareness about proper waste management and disposal practices, as well as limited technically skilled human resources to deal with issues such as e-waste recycling. This study has highlighted that Botswana needs an enhanced and enforced e-waste management strategy as a catalyst towards e-Health Readiness.