Great Trends in the use of  Health Technology in Kenya

Great Trends in the use of Health Technology in Kenya

On July 27th2016, the Ministry of Health celebrated the attainment of ISO 9001:2008, a Quality Management System certification that enables organizations to monitor quality. This is done by providing a framework that manages the philosophy of continuous improvement. This is a significant trend in the use health technology  in Kenya  as it will bring about effective and efficient access to quality affordable healthcare to patients. Improved health outcomes in turn help to curb the rise of communicable and non-communicable diseases in Kenya.

July 1st 2016, saw the official adoption of the GeneXpert Molecular Diagnostic system as the first line detection for patients suspected to have TB, MDR-TB and HIV related TB. This is a molecular test that is able to detect the presence of TB and rifampicin resistance.

The roll out began in 2012 in various healthcare facilities and currently an estimated number of 134 machines are present in Kenya. With TB being the 4th leading cause of deaths in Kenya, GeneXpert continues to revolutionize the benefits of early detection of TB since its inception, TB diagnosis has gone up from 20,000 tests in 2014 to 80,000 tests IN 2015 and a significant drop of TB/HIV co-infection rates from 70% in 2014 to  just 30% in 2015.

Viral Hepatitis has been the leading cause of death after TB with WHO estimating 1.45Million deaths in 2013. Hepatitis is caused by a virus and is classified into Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E. The A & E virus is spread through contamination of food and water, while B, C and D are spread through contact with infected body fluids. With the rising increase of HBV in Kenya, a new test to combat HBV was developed by Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (J.K.U.A.T), Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Lancet Laboratories. HBV is known to cause liver cirrhosis which can develop to liver cancer at later stages.

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This new HBV test is set to lower the cost oaf screening which currently stands at $6 and treatment at $900-$1000 per month for patients. This test not only provides a cheaper alternative, but is also able to detect markers important in assessing the impact of chronic HBV in Kenya therefore providing information that can be used to formulate ways the disease can be managed effectively.

82% of Kenyans have access to a mobile phone. This has resulted in the rapid rise of M-health solutions being offered to the general population. Use of M-Health technology has led to increased access to service delivery leading to increased positive health outcomes.

In a bid to improve the maternal and child health outcomes, TotoHealth is an organization that uses mobile technology to reduce maternal and child mortality by detecting any developmental abnormalities in early stages. Here, the parents receive messages that are personalized and targeted towards their child’s wellbeing during pregnancy and after birth. The messages tend to highlight any warning signs during development, provides additional knowledge as well referrals to the nearest health facility in case of complications. To date a total of 21, 547 parents have been enrolled on this platform. This technology has not only improved the health outcome in 6  counties, but also ensures that enrolled parents receive vaccination and clinic appointment reminders, get advice on family planning methods as well as help them track the child’s development from pregnancy to 5 years of age.

Great trends to watch

Nairobi Incubation Lab (Nailab) recently partnered with UNFPA to launch a 4 month sexual health accelerator programme dubbed “iAccelerator “in June 2016.  This encouraged youth to come up with sexual health innovations. Out of 10 finalists, 4 startups were chosen namely “Fluid” a mobile game based on sexuality and sexual reproductive health, “Sophie Bot” a sexual health information system, “Deaf Elimu Plus” an app that deaf people can use and finally “Imara TV” a crowdsourcing online system that generates video content produced by youth. The applications were borne out of the I.AM initiative, a programme that calls on young people to learn about their sexuality and sexual reproductive health without stigmatization and also access sources credible information.

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Mary Murugami

Healthcare consultant. She is passionate about Global health and efforts that embrace use of technological innovations to achieve Universal Health Coverage Goal