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Telecom delivers telemedicine to refugee camp

by Tullah Stephen

Virtual healthcare provided to 250,000 refugees almost 500km away from Gertrude’s Children Hospital in Nairobi

Liquid Telecom Kenya, part of the leading pan-African telecoms group Liquid Telecom, has connected Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in Nairobi to Dadaab refugee complex. The community of approximately 250,000 refugees across four camps almost 500km away from the hospital will now have access to dedicated healthcare including consultations, diagnostics and treatment over the internet.

Providing medical services to the quarter of a million refugees at Dadaab’s four camps has been inhibited by the absence of specialists in the remote semi-arid area.

By using a 15Mbps connection at the hospital’s Nairobi headquarters and a 2Mbps link at Dadaab sub-county hospital, Liquid Telecom Kenya is enabling the largest paediatric centre in East and Central Africa to deliver advanced treatment directly to Dadaab.

“Liquid Telecom’s high-speed network is now facilitating cost-effective delivery of specialised healthcare services to one of the world’s largest refugee camp which has traditionally been inhibited by the absence of specialists in the remote semi-arid area,” said Liquid Telecom East Africa Chief Executive Officer Adil El-Youssefi. “We are especially excited as this not only brings essential healthcare to the most disadvantaged communities, it supports the government’s commitment to providing universal healthcare – one of Kenya’s Big 4 policy agenda items.”

The link to Dadaab has enabled the hospital to successfully treat more than 56 patients so far. “When we get a call from Dadaab requesting time and input from our specialists, the ICT department notifies the relevant doctor and then schedules a virtual consultation using video conferencing equipment across Liquid Telecom’s network,” said Peter Kanda, Head of Information Services, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital.

The hospital is also offering telemedicine services in Mombasa, Sekenani (Narok County) and Kibera in Nairobi and will soon deploy the services to the Mara.

The hospital has partnered with Interdist Alliances of the CIS Group to put in place specialised medical equipment that diagnoses patients then transmits the results over the internet, while Cisco has provided the audio-visual equipment for consultations.

Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital’s innovation in telemedicine won the hospital the CIO 2017 award.  “The hospital was also invited to attend and address the Health Innovation Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa. This is a great achievement for us and a clear demonstration that Kenya can provide a solution to common global challenges such as in health,” said Kanda.

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