Provincial Medical Office of Nairobi, Communications Commission of Kenya, Telkom Kenya, Axesstel, RTI International and Qualcomm Strengthen Pharmaceutical Management Systems for Antiretroviral Drugs in Health Facilities in Nairobi with 3G Technology
Public-Private Collaboration Makes Antiretroviral Therapy Program More Efficient Using EV-DO Rev. A Advanced Wireless Technology
NAIROBI, KENYA . - Provincial Medical Office of Nairobi, Communications Commission of Kenya, Telkom Kenya, Axesstel, RTI International and Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), through its Wireless Reach™ initiative, today announced an event at the Kasarani Health Center their collaboration to implement a wireless health care project in Kenya that will improve HIV/AIDS treatment in Nairobi during. The project harnesses the benefits of advanced 3G wireless technology to make the supply of antiretroviral medicines (ARVs) more efficient.
HIV/AIDS is one of Kenya’s most pressing health concerns and offering antiretroviral treatment (ART ) is a key component of the government’s strategy to reduce HIV/AIDS-related morbidity and mortality. Nairobi currently has more than 20 ART sites under the supervision of the Provincial Medical Office (PMO). The initial project coverage is focused on 16 sites that receive their antiretroviral medicines exclusively from the Kenya Medical Supplies Agency (KEMSA). Information and telecommunications capabilities at the ART centers are limited to VHF radios with no official telephone line connections. This hampers the ability of health workers to communicate with KEMSA and to consult with other health workers, particularly pharmacists, at district and provincial levels. The ART centers also lack computers and relevant accessories that would assist in the management of medicines.
“A reliable, uninterrupted supply of ARVs is crucial to the success of antiretroviral therapy,” said Dr. Samuel Ochola, provincial director of public health and sanitation, Nairobi. “Our current supply management system is characterized by tedious and time consuming manual maintenance of records, which is a heavy burden considering the shortage of human resources. Automating the process will enhance the record keeping and reporting processes and help us provide more efficient care to those affected by HIV/AIDS.”
Through its Wireless Reach initiative, Qualcomm is working together with project participants to equip the ART centers with computers, software and wireless broadband connectivity based on CDMA2000® Rev. A technology to facilitate the online communication and transmission of reports. The project is also providing technical support, training and capacity building to ensure long-term sustainability and promote scalability.
Health centers will receive computers and support equipment needed for wireless connectivity. The computers will be connected to Telkom Kenya’s Orange Broadband network, based on CDMA2000 Rev. A technology, using modems provided by Axesstel. The upgrade will facilitate online reporting to KEMSA and improve coordination between the health care centers, the districts and the PMO.
“In countries like Kenya, with the challenges implied in the expansion of fixed-line broadband networks, 3G wireless technology allows us to overcome these constraints,” said Dominque Saint Jean, chief executive officer of Telkom Kenya. “Telkom Kenya’s Rev. A network gives users high-speed access to the Internet via computers and other mobile devices. We are pleased to be supporting this project by enabling advanced communications between facilities so health care workers can share critical information with each other, with referral hospitals and with KEMSA.”
“We serve emerging markets and are committed to the goal of universal connectivity,” said Clark Hickock, chief executive officer of Axesstel. “We are excited to be able to provide assistance for such a worthy cause and work with Telkom Kenya to supply an innovative communications solution for this project. Axesstel’s next-generation, feature-rich fixed wireless voice and broadband data devices have proven value to advanced wireless network operators throughout the world. We look forward to being a part of this Wireless Reach program and delivering our valuable service to this region.”
The project implementation is being managed by RTI along with the PMO and will make use of open source software designed by RTI, which is derived from the manual recording system for managing antiretrovirals throughout Kenya. The new system will be adapted for use in the health centers. Capacity building will also be provided for trainers who will be responsible for teaching PC skills and the new software to health care workers at the ART sites. CCK will support the acquisition and installation of computer hardware and software, amongst other accessories, in five health facilities in accordance with the RTI specifications. Dell Inc. also provided Vostro desktop computers and peripherals as a donation in support of the project.
The long-term goal is to produce a software and communication system that is locally sustainable and scalable to other health centers within Nairobi and other provinces. Ultimately, the same system could be extended to manage all pharmaceuticals.
“Cellular wireless connectivity is putting Kenya on a new path to development,” said Mr. Charles J.K. Njoroge, director general of Communications Commission of Kenya. “This project is a great example of how public-private partnerships and the power of technology can be used to improve the quality of life by providing a critical service to Kenyans.” The Commission supports the project as part of its involvement in public-private partnerships and delivery of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to the underserved population in Kenya.
“By providing the public health centers with 3G connectivity, we are creating a communication network that will bring more efficient care at faster speeds to patients in need,” said Jeffrey A. Jacobs, executive vice president and chief marketing officer for Qualcomm. “Qualcomm is delighted to aid health care providers and to help close the digital divide by supporting the implementation of Telkom Kenya’s Rev. A network.”
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