Digital Clinics and Telemedicine in Rural Kenya
To improve access to healthcare in rural areas, Huawei worked with the Government of Kenya, Safricom, MicroClinic Technologies, and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to connect over 40 medical facilities to a telemedicine and digital clinic solution in Lamu County, Kenya. The facilities were provided with a digital clinic management system (ZiDi) installed on Huawei Matebooks for more efficient clinic management, and for collecting and sending health data to the cloud. In addition, 12 hospitals and 4 clinics were connected through fibre and 3G enabling telemedicine video-conferencing to provide remote medical consultations for patients and training for local health workers with specialists in the regional-level hospital in Mombasa.
The collaboration benefited over 150,000 people in Lamu County. As a result people no longer need to travel to distant facilities for diagnosis or treatment. Instead they can continue using their local clinic and communicate with medical specialists remotely. In addition, the solution allows the government to build up health data, predict and manage the demand and supply of medicine, and assess the workloads of staff in facilities to decide on further staffing, training, and investment. The project was recognized at the 2016 Smart City World Congress with the Innovative Global South Award and is an appreciation of how technology can help improve access and efficiency in the provision of medical and health services in spite of limited resources. Whilst investing in facilities, equipment, staff, medicines and training has brought progress to Kenyan healthcare (and increasing use of m-health systems is being used for different purposes across the country), there remains a critical need to reduce costs in the system whilst also improving quality. The government has set clear goals for extending ICT to health facilities and developing an integrated national health system. This project provides an important case study that helps show how this can be achieved in rural areas and replicated elsewhere in the country.
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