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The Equinoctial Technology University in Ecuador opened a telemedicine centre this week (18 October) that will use satellite connections to provide better healthcare to and train medical staff in remote areas like the Galapagos Islands.

"Everybody talks about environment protection, but nobody remembers the people living there," Ricardo Hidalgo, dean of the university's health science faculty, told Radio Quito. 

"With this new centre we can track a patient's exam in real time, and can even receive digitalised images allowing us to make a diagnosis," said Hidalgo.

The new centre will also offer long-distance training for health staff and will eventually provide coverage nationally.

The university has invested US$250,000 in equipment, and the Ecuadorian air force has granted three hours of free satellite access a day, two for patient care and one for training, which will save the university around US$10,000 a month.

The project is supported by US-based University of New Mexico.

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