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Digital healthcare in Africa

21.01.2022

Mobile communications in Africa are growing rapidly. Even in the most remote areas, there are cell towers providing people with mobile Internet. Digitization in the healthcare sector is also developing at a similar pace. Under the term eHealth, smartphones, cell phones and tablets are revolutionizing medical care.

SolidarMed supports eHealth projects in order to strengthen prevention, health care or treatment at health centers.

SolidarMed supports eHealth projects to strengthen prevention, health care or treatment at health centers. 

eHealth: Is it needed in Africa?

Yes, because eHealth supports medical services for people in remote regions.


▶ eHealth increases the quality of diagnosis and treatment as support for health personnel.

▶ eHealth enables training of health personnel even in remote regions.

▶ eHealth guarantees access to up-to-date knowledge: timely and information-based responses can make the difference between life and death.

▶ eHealth can increase efficiency and saves costs for the healthcare system.

eHealth helps our partners achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3: Ensure healthy lives for all people at all ages and promote their well-being.

eHealth strategy at SolidarMed

SolidarMed relies on a bottom-up strategy. We do not export eHealth concepts from Switzerland, but look for solutions locally and work with existing experts in the country. In Zimbabwe, for example, SolidarMed brings together midwives, programmers, network specialists, students, and doctors for monthly "hackathons" to develop local digital solutions for local problems. The focus is always on patients and their needs. The model serves as a role model and has met with great interest from other NGOs, but also at government level.

 

Advantages of this approach:

it empowers local people
it strengthens local competencies
the solutions are locally developed and reflect the cultural context
shared learning promotes development and sustainability

Communication with patients

HIV therapies require regular measurement of the viruses in the blood of HIV patients. It can take several days from the time the blood is taken until the result is available. Thanks to automated and encrypted communication via SMS, another trip to the possibly far-away health facility can be avoided. This saves time and money for the patients concerned and increases adherence to treatment.

Thanks to automated and encrypted communication via SMS, another trip to the healthcare facility, which may be far away, can be avoided.

eHealth as an information platform

For people in Africa, the beginning of the Covid 19 pandemic was also associated with a lot of uncertainty. What is true? Can I still go to the health center if I feel sick or is it too risky? What do I need to watch out for? Together with the Ministry of Health, SolidarMed in Zimbabwe developed a digital platform to advise people on health issues for free.

Together with the Ministry of Health, SolidarMed developed a digital platform in Zimbabwe to provide free health advice to people.

Artificial intelligence at the end of the world

In collaboration with scientists, SolidarMed in Lesotho has developed an AI-based system for diagnosing covid-19. Digital X-ray images of the chest automatically distinguish covid-19 infections from other diseases. Even in remote villages, Covid-19 patients with non-specific symptoms such as cough can be identified in time.

Digital chest x-rays automatically allow covid-19 infections to be distinguished from other disease patterns.

Help with birth complications

At Silveira Hospital in Zimbabwe, SolidarMed has set up a so-called ePartograph. This is an instrument for monitoring the birth process in order to detect complications at an early stage. Any alarms can be transmitted digitally to the obstetrician's mobile phone. This makes births safer.

At Silveira Hospital in Zimbabwe, SolidarMed has set up a so-called ePartograph.