Philanthropic organization, the Novartis Foundation, has enjoyed such success with its pilot of a telemedicine affairs in Ghana that the country’s healthcare account is to apparatus it nationwide.
The telemedicine account started as a pilot archetypal in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region in 2011, accoutrement 30 communities of about 35,000 people.
It uses adaptable technology to affix association bloom workers in the acreage with specialist healthcare professionals via 24-hour teleconsultation centres, with doctors, nurses and midwives in these centres able to drillmaster association bloom workers and admonish on analysis of patients.
The appetite is to strengthen healthcare accommodation and empower association bloom workers while convalescent affection of affliction and alienated accidental referrals. The pilot, it seems, worked, with added than bisected of all “teleconsultations” bound anon by phone, including 31 percent that abhorred referrals.
As a result, the Ghana Bloom Account is to apparatus the affairs beyond the nation as allotment of its civic e-health strategy. The Novartis Foundation will accommodate a roadmap for scale-up, while the Ghana Bloom Account and the Ministry of Bloom accept now set up six teleconsultation centres beyond the country. They achievement to accomplish abounding civic advantage accessible by 2019.
Dr Ann Aerts, arch of the Novartis Foundation, told AFKInsider that the technology abaft the telemedicine activity was carefully straightforward.
“The absolute accession is in how a simple agenda bloom solution, congenital about communities’ realities, can accept a transformational appulse on healthcare delivery,” she said.
“Community bloom workers in the acreage use adaptable phones to alarm into bounded teleconsultation centres, area they are affiliated with doctors, nurses and midwives for admonition on alleviative their patients, generally in emergency cases. This improves affliction in a cardinal of ways: this apprenticeship helps association bloom workers advance their accommodation to amusement patients, but best importantly, it reduces accidental referrals of patients to specialist care. This is decidedly important in rural areas, area patients may contrarily charge to biking continued distances, sometimes at their own expense, for such care.”
Aerts said telemedicine was an important footfall appear the Ghana Bloom Service’s beyond appetite to accomplish Universal Bloom Advantage by 2020.
“It has the abeyant to advance affliction for abounding healthcare challenges in accession to emergency care, like abiding ache administration and consultations for brainy bloom patients,” she said.
Though the technology is acutely applicative to added countries, the scale-up afresh appear is specific to Ghana, and the Novartis Foundation is not currently complex in telemedicine programs in added African countries.
“The Ghana Bloom Account will allotment its learnings as it takes over abounding programmatic and banking albatross for telemedicine as it is chip into civic bloom services. The foundation will additionally administer its acquaintance in telemedicine to its added initiatives all over the world,” Aerts said.
“The foundation additionally will abide to assignment on added agenda bloom programs in Ghana, such as the community-based Hypertension Improvement Activity in the Lower Manya-Krobo District. This affairs seeks to advance the ascendancy and administration of hypertension through a community-based model.”
She is optimistic, however, as to the role telemedicine could yet comedy in added countries.
“The telemedicine archetypal has the abeyant to be translated into added countries’ civic agenda bloom strategies as able-bodied as into added areas of care, like abiding ache administration and consultations for brainy bloom patients,” said Aerts.
Government captivation is key, however. In Ghana, the Novartis Foundation formed carefully with the Ghana Bloom Account throughout, and will abide to do so during the handover.
“The Ghana Bloom Service, the Ministry of Health, the Civic Bloom Insurance Authority and the Ministry of Communications provided the civic administration to calibration telemedicine services,” Aerts said.
“This government administration is acute to ensure the sustainability of programs like telemedicine, so we booty abundant pride in seeing telemedicine chip into civic services; the actuality that the civic Ghanaian government chose to booty the telemedicine affairs to calibration is a huge success for the initiative.”
It goes added than that, however, with Aerts adage multi-sector accord was at the affection of the Novartis Foundation’s work, and accustomed ally to accord different assets against designing and carrying casework that can scale.
“In Ghana, the Novartis Foundation and ally contributed acquaintance in innovating healthcare delivery, with the adeptness to booty on banking risk, and to accompany stakeholders together. This provided an important agitator for what was already a antecedence for the Ghanaian government – telemedicine became a flagship for agenda bloom in Ghana and the base for the Ministry of Health’s civic e-health strategy,” she said.
Tom Jackson is co-founder of Disrupt Africa, a account and analysis aggregation focused on the African tech startup ecosystem.
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