Kenya: HP, Clinton Health Access Initiative Launch Research Lab At Strathmore University
BY BARAKA JEFWA(CIO, East africa)
HP East Africa announced the opening of an education lab on the campus of Strathmore University that is expected to help improve access to healthcare for citizens throughout Kenya.
The lab, developed in cooperation with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Strathmore University and Kenya's Ministry of Health (MOH), will provide faculty and students with technology that can help them design and deploy information systems to support public health delivery, dramatically improving access to high-quality healthcare and saving lives.
The HP infrastructure includes software, server racks and all-in-one thin clients that will be used by Strathmore University students to develop web-based solutions that are deployed in hundreds of public health facilities in Kenya. The solutions will be hosted at MOH headquarters in a data center location that was built and supported by HP. HP will continue its technical cooperation with local institutions and the Kenyan government to bring to bear its existing technologies to solve local problems such as track and trace technologies for commodity distribution and tracking.
This program is part of HP's Living Progress through which the firm aims to create a better future by bringing people and technology together to solve society's toughest challenges. Through the establishment of this lab, HP is helping to advance the overall health and well-being of people around the world.
"We believe that technology can accelerate innovation and research, enabling organizations to increase the positive impact on society," said Paul Ellingstad, director, Human Progress Initiatives, HP. "Our partnership with Strathmore University, CHAI and the Ministry of Health illustrates how collaboration among the right partners and the right technology creates more effective and more efficient solutions that improve access to quality healthcare and strengthen health systems. That's what innovation is all about."
This new lab represents the latest example of the collaboration between CHAI, the Ministry of Health and Strathmore University that is focused on improving the diagnosis and treatment of diseases across Africa. Among the accomplishments of this collaboration has been the development of the Early Infant Diagnosis of HIV (EID) technology infrastructure, which started in Kenya and has expanded to Malawi, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Nigeria. The project automates the HIV testing process for infants, giving babies a better chance of survival.
By using technology to connect remote clinics, test results can be delivered in days instead of weeks or even months, enabling life-saving treatments to start much earlier--a huge improvement that has the potential to save thousands of lives. The automation of the testing process also provides the Ministry of Health and other governmental agencies with real-time access to medical data, helping improve policy and decision-making.
"Programs such as the EID system highlight the positive impact that can be made on global health by rethinking processes and innovating solutions with governments, universities, and NGO partners," said Charles Kuria, managing director, HP East Africa. "Through this ongoing collaboration, HP and our partners are helping modernize systems and develop technology-based solutions that dramatically expand access to medical professionals, improve care and save lives."
More than 260,000 infants have been tested in Kenya and Uganda since 2011. Approximately 10 percent of the tested infants were diagnosed as HIV positive and put on antiretroviral treatment immediately. HP has invested more than USD1 million in the past five years in infrastructure, including six data centers across the country, that link Kenya's EID laboratories and other crucial MOH services via innovative platforms built by Strathmore University students in support of public health delivery.
In addition to providing a technology infrastructure that enables students to create solutions that address other diseases, such as malaria and tuberculosis, the new lab also will help students hone their skills and prepare for the future.
"Strathmore University is committed to establishing collaborations that challenge the way students think and help better prepare them for the job market--while at the same time enabling them to deliver cutting-edge solutions that were previously thought to be a preserve of international organizations," said Dr. George Njenga, deputy vice chancellor, Research and Quality Assurance, Strathmore University. "Our young people's potential and skills are equal to any challenge thrown at them, so we must cultivate a culture of excellence and continual improvement. With HP's commitment, we have access to the best technology to enable innovation."