News Column

Samsung, WHO Partner to Curb Maternal Deaths Through Mobile Technology

August 12, 2014

Lilian Mutegi



Samsung has partnered with World Health Organisation (WHO) to provide better mother and child environment through an initiative which will see firm distribute smartphones and cloud-based collectors to store data for use by health workers.

The smartphones will be integrated with a software that will be able to track mother and child health even before the child is born all the way until the child is delivered. This will provide a factual results to health workers who will be able to keep track of the patient to help reduce maternal deaths.

Speaking during a roundtable discussion organized by AMREF Health Africa in a bid to provide a platform to discuss public-private partnerships and with the aim of creating African solutions to African challenges in healthcare, Samsung East Africa COO, Robert Ngeru said: "The Initiative being supported by WHO, started off in some countries where Kenya is not a part but coming next year around February, we will provide smartphones to health workers. The smartphones will actually come at a cheaper price since they will be subsidized by WHO and Samsung. Currently, the initiative is in Nigeria and South Africa in and we plan to roll out the program next year on February across East Africa starting with Kenya Tanzania and Rwanda."

Studies show that Africans live the shortest lives on average globally, partly due to the fact that Africa remains the continent with the lowest levels of per capita investment in health. Over 1.2 million Africans die from malaria every year despite there being varied efforts to prevent and treat it, with most of these deaths occurring in sub-Saharan Africa. Such statistics make the case for an overhaul in Africa's approach to healthcare, a change which will include the development and innovation of technologies that can be used to ease access to healthcare and therefore save lives

When asked what other technology innovations Samsung had put in place to help improve care across Africa, Ngeru told CIO East Africa that this initiative follows the piloting of a series of Digital Villages in East and Central Africa, which enable doctors in remote areas with no access to electricity to access internet and simple technologies to diagnose patients.

Samsung Digital Villages initiative integrates African communities' hospitals, schools, lighting systems and energy infrastructure using solar power. The project also will provides comprehensive support to improve health standards, bolster education opportunities and increase the potential for people to lead economically independent lives. The Digital Village is comprised of a number of key components that work together to benefit a community in terms of health, education and employment. Samsung has been at the forefront in partnering with organisations such as the GSMA and WHO to improve access to healthcare among pregnant women and women with young children across Africa.

Under the Health component is comprised Samsung offers the Solar Power Health Centre which provides professional, qualified medical care, thereby eliminating economic and geographic barriers and telemedical Centre which provides remote medical assistance through a centralised pool of medical expertise and experience. This will reduce the need for qualified doctors in rural areas and reduce the distances that patients need to travel for diagnosis.

"Our mobile phones encourage more and more research into better living of the society. We not only sell products we drive solutions to make people live longer and healthier. Also our wearable devices helps you monitor your calories through what you eat," said Ngeru

Currently, Samsung is carrying out research with partners one of them being Strathmore on a solution called Dr. Smart, which is a solution that will collect data from patients and store the data in the cloud such that he patient doesn't go to a doctor's office. One can do a test and upload it on the cloud the doctor can access your results and give u a recommendation remotely. Once launched, the Samsung will work with private hospitals but later through AMREF might engage with Government hospitals.

Some time back Samsung also offered EMR [Electronics Medical Records] mobile solution to a Hospital in Korea using where by everyone at the hospital can access the records quickly and also get instant information.The EMR solution works as of now on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and would be available to the doctors with data synchronized with the media database of the hospital. The tabs can be easily carried by the medical staff and used to not update check the previous records but also update the same with prescriptions.


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Source: AllAfrica


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