About a month ago we posted about how there were more mobile connections in Africa than in Europe. This was not terribly surprising to me as it is much cheaper to establish cell networks than to develop regular hardline networks.
It should then not be too surprising that doctors in Africa are taking advantage of these networks much the way that doctors in more developed area are. This article highlights the use of telemedicine and how it is literally saving lives. Here are some of the most interesting points:
Working at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre better known by its acronym KCMC doctor Niemi travels variously to see patients in remote areas, he does not leave behind his gadget.
As a clinical officer his job is mainly treating and advising people on clinical matters, but for complex medical cases he need specialist advice which could be at his finger tips since he uses iPath installed in his mobile handset.
With this system he easily send x-rays, photos of skin conditions and tissue samples and patient information to specialist doctors for consultation online.
Although computers can also be used to upload cases, Niemi prefers his mobile phone. “Network coverage is often a problem with our office computer or laptop to upload telemedicine cases. With a camera phone with GPRS connection, it is very simple to upload cases from anywhere. We discovered that a mobile phone can open the web program needed for telemedicine quite easily and fast,” he says.
I found it extremely interesting that the cell networks are more reliable and efficient than even the computer network. There are probably not many people who need improvements in healthcare more than they do in Africa so it is awesome to see that this technology is bringing that improvement.