ITV #3 - Jérôme Soistier
How technology can positively impact the quality of care in Africa
What are the problems facing Africa in the field of health ?
Even if all African countries are not at the same stage of maturity, Africa is facing several problems. Aside from a culture that does not yet fully take into account chronic pathologies, which are nevertheless developing very quickly in this region of the world, we can also cite for a large part of the population : the lack of accessible healthcare , the lack of doctors and trained nursing staff combined with the sometimes very long distances between homes and hospitals or dispensaries, and the difficulty in accessing quality medicine. Lastly, we can also see a significant delay in terms of the deployment of quality infrastructures and training.
Are there any technological solutions that can help ?
The solutions are numerous and it is impossible to give an exhaustive list because things move so quickly. I will therefore limit myself to a few examples which seem to me to be among the most relevant.
Easily accessible digital applications that are adapted to populations facilitate prevention and raise awareness concerning diet and behaviors that are to be encouraged. Thus, lifestyle changes can be made to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, and diabetes, which are wreaking havoc.
Technology will also facilitate access to quality care and reduce the impact of distance or the lack of doctors. This is the case for " triage " applications which allow, via telephone or online, through structured questioning and artificial intelligence, to understand the level of urgency of the patient's situation in order to guide him as best as possible and reduce the need for unnecessary consultations and hospitalizations. This is also the case with teleconsultation, which facilitates access to doctors for patients by avoiding travel that is not always easy. Teleconsultation or tele-expertise, for rare and complex cases, also make it possible to facilitate exchanges with referring physicians abroad, and to obtain a second opinion confirming or rejecting the diagnosis made locally.
The development of connected objects, used during home visits or accessible in telemedicine booths, allows a certain number of constants to be measured (automatically or via the presence of a person with minimal “ medical ” training ) and to communicate them if necessary to an online doctor who can provide the correct answer to the patient's condition. This technology offers the possibility to increase the use of local resources and to call for a doctor only when needed.
Aside from telemedicine and remote prevention, what other technology do you think can also be effective ?
Technological advances in the development of diagnostic or treatment equipment that is ever more resistant, ever smaller and ever more transportable, are significant. This technology makes it possible to carry out diagnostic campaigns or “ mobile ” care outside of cities, especially on rapidly developing subjects in Africa such as the detection of breast, cervical, or uterine cancer, or the treatment of blindness thanks to cataract operations, a disease that affects more than 600,000 people per year on this continent.
Technology will impact in-depth medical training, via the development of remote education or training by simulation. And thus make it possible to facilitate the rise in competence of doctors / surgeons who do not have the opportunity to sufficiently intervene on “ real ” patients with identical pathologies to achieve excellence.
Lastly, technology will also make it possible to accelerate the deployment of citizen care systems by simplifying the implementation of universal medical coverage projects. Indeed, digitization will facilitate and better control the exchange of documents and payment without having to build complex structures and / or costly organization systems.