New healthcare technologies to combat infant mortality in Africa
New healthcare technologies are continually developed to combat infant mortality in Africa. Leaders from Japan and over 40 African countries gathered at the Tokyo International Conference on African Development, or TICAD, last week. The three-day meeting is seen as a valuable opportunity for Japanese companies and African countries to collaborate. One partnership is helping introduce life-saving technology to communities in need.
A medical specialist
in Japan uses Skype to work with a doctor in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. They are conducting a checkup on an African woman and her baby. The two
doctors are able to share information thanks to a simple piece of technology.
A portable ultrasound
allows doctors to see inside a woman's womb to assess the baby's growth. It is
affordable and can be connected to a smartphone or PC.
was able to use existing technology to develop a version both cheaper and
smaller. Using Japanese government funding, the company developed a portable
machine that costs ten times less than a traditional model. It's saving African
hospitals thousands of dollars.
Doudou Kabamba, a Congolese doctor says, "With this device and how it works, I think it will help lower the cost of prenatal checkups. And we can also use it anywhere, even at the patient's home."
Some communities that do not have enough doctors rely on midwives. Kawamura's company is preparing to introduce training programs in a number of countries to teach them how to use the devices. Hirotsugu Matsumoto, a medical advisor for Lequio Power Technology, says, "If you are not used to the device, it takes time to familiarize yourself with it. So I think we need to provide guidance that helps doctors and midwives learn as quickly as possible."