Using technology to manage Non Communicable diseases in Kenya
Non Communicable diseases (NCDs) are leading cause of 38 million deaths worldwide annually with 80% occurring in lower & middle income countries. The most common include Cancer, Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Chronic Respiratory diseases. Increasing prevalence of NCDs and burden of other diseases and staff shortage often leaves health systems struggling to meet the demand for patient services. . Front line health care workers often based in our communities play a big role as they are often the first point of contact for the patient and to deliver proper care to NCD patients, they are slowly integrating mobile technology to improve services built around patient needs.
This week, AHIT Team met up with Mr. Hudson Kipapi, a Nurse based in Nairobi, Kenya offering palliative care to patients suffering from NCDs.
AHIT: Thank you for meeting with us Hudson, Tell us about yourself
Hudson: My name is Hudson Kisibo, a nurse passionate about providing specialized medical care for people living with Non Communicable diseases like Diabetes and Cancer.
AHIT: What motivated you to become a nurse?
Hudson: My Dad, at a young age I’d to see him suffer from serious Asthma attacks. I grew up in a remote village where the nearest health center was 20 Km away and staff lacked skills on NCD management. A cook working in the District hospital would assist us in injecting dad with Aminophiline and Adrenaline. Aminophiline is a drug that should be administered intravenously! Unfortunately, he passed on a year later and having walked the journey with him at such a young age and seeing what NCDs and lack of proper care can do, I decided to pursue nursing as a career.
AHIT: What does a typical working day for you look like?
Hudson: I wake up at 4 am to do my daily devotion then prepare for the day. When I get to work the first thing I do is check my patients vitals, administer prescribed drugs, give them bed baths, feed them then take them to doctors appointments as scheduled. I also sit with my patients and engage them throughout the day by talking and taking them for physiotherapy. I work 6 hrs a day and my day ends at 4 pm.
AHIT: What can be done to improve Non Communicable diseases management here in Kenya?
Hudson: NCDs are mostly lifestyle diseases caused by pre-disposing factors like unhealthy diets, lack of physical activity, increased alcohol consumption and Tobacco use. In addition, people don’t go for checkups. Proper diets and monitoring one’s health is key.
“A healthy society is a healthy nation. We need to sensitize our communities more on health matters” Hudson Kisibo
AHIT: What are some of the challenges you encounter when providing assisted care to Non Communicable diseases patients?
Hudson: The worst moment for me is when a patient passes on, it’s traumatizing. Sometimes the patients are stubborn and refuse to take medication. Emergencies arise a lot and you need to act fast to save the life of a patient especially in cases of Diabetes management.
AHIT: What do you like most about your job?
Hudson: The greatest moment for me is to see a patient back on their feet and going on their daily duties unassisted.
AHIT: On a lighter note, what book are you reading?
Hudson: I am reading “THINK BIG: Unleashing Your Potential for Excellence by John Carson”. He transformed his own life from that of being a ghetto kid with problems in school to becoming the most celebrated pediatric neurosurgeon in the world. It teaches me that there is no limit to achieving goals.
AHIT: Given a chance, what would you do differently to improve holistic and integrated care of patients living with NCDs here in Kenya and Africa at large?
Hudson: I would like to improve our healthcare facilities by providing better medical screening equipments especially in low resource setting areas.
AHIT: What technological trends have you been following on Non Communicable diseases care and Management?
Hudson: I advocate for more mobile messaging platforms that deliver educative text messages to be championed to the public more. In developed countries, we see that mobile health technology is harnessed to screen Non Communicable diseases. Doctors are able to access reports, images and important data can be used to improve disease management. Technology also enables front line healthcare workers to connect remotely with other medical personnel to deliver quality care.
There are various apps available in IOS and Android and everyone with a smart phone can download them for free.
Healthy Heart app is prevention / monitoring app for high blood pressure / high cholesterol patients who are at risk of heart diseases, as well as their caretakers.
Health and Nutrition Guide app which gives you health and nutrition tips.
BG Monitor for Diabetes which tracks everything, calculates how much insulin you need and even gives you reminders. There are so many free apps out there, use them to manage your health.
People living with Non Communicable diseases require ongoing complex and holistic care and countries that have invested in primary health care report better health outcomes here in Africa, Research shows that assisted home care translates to better health outcomes for patients and their families in the long run.
Healthcare consultant. She is passionate about Global health and efforts that embrace use of technological innovations to achieve Universal Health Coverage Goal