Telemedicine is shaping Africa Healthcare
Philips is targeting sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia with telehealth equipment, where high maternal and infant mortality can be addressed through early diagnosis, proper nutrition, remote monitoring innovations and access to energy. The consumer electronics giant has committed to improving the lives of 100 million women and children by 2025, as part of the UN’s Every Woman Every Child initiative. It has goals for a two-thirds reduction in under-five mortality, and a 75 percent reduction in maternal mortality by 2015.
Philips has undertaken several country-wide rehabilitation programs across Africa. By targeting sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia specifically, Philips will mobilize resources to support access to healthcare through large scale healthcare transformation projects, in combination with clinical education and skills training for healthcare professionals.
The Philips Africa Innovation Hub will be devoted to developing and deploying innovations that improve the quality of care for mothers and their children in low-resource settings. It has already developed automated respiration monitors that support the diagnosis of pneumonia in children under five, clean cooking stoves and solar lighting, as well as telehealth and mobile-health solutions which can provide early diagnosis and healthy living and nutritional advice. Philips also recently piloted the telehealth Mobile Obstetrical Monitoring (MoM) project in Indonesia to remotely monitor pregnant women for early high-risk identification.
Meanwhile, the Global Partnership for Telehealth (GPT) has joined the American International Health Alliance (AIHA) and Zambian Department Force to develop and implement a telemedicine program for the Zambian military and Zambian citizens located in neighboring villages. That includes establishing telemedicine presentation sites at five Zambian military bases, which will connect to Maina Soko Military Hospital located in the capitol of Lusaka. The telemedicine program will afford the smaller, more rural hospitals access to specialty physician care, and the bases will utilize telemedicine to present Zambian citizens in bordering villages to medical professionals throughout the country."We envision the GPT-Zambia training center to become the telehealth showcase for the African continent," said Jeffrey Kesler, COO of GPT. "The GPT-Zambia program will play a critical role in changing the lives of Zambians."
GPT is addressing the training gap as well. In July, a GPT team spent 10 days setting up the Zambian Telemedicine Training Center—the first and only telemedicine training center on the African continent. The center will provide a location to train students, medical residents and military physicians on the importance of telemedicine and how to provide telehealth services.
It’s likely that these are indicative of many more initiatives to follow. IHS said that results from telehealth programs reveal sharp decreases in readmission rates and mortality rates, alongside increases in adherence through patient engagement. These benefits make a strong business case for telehealth and will result in greater reimbursement from regulatory bodies. “Amid rising expenses, an aging population and the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases, the healthcare industry must change the way it operates,” said Roeen Roashan, medical devices and digital health analyst at IHS Technology. “Telehealth represents an attractive solution to these challenges, increasing the quality of care while reducing overall healthcare expenditures.”