ICTs helping combat HIV transmission


Image: By m2m
ICTs helping combat HIV transmission

In one of many initiatives to combat HIV across Africa, HP is supporting efforts to curb AIDS deaths by using ICTs.

One major initiative involves the digitization of patient records for over 1.5 million HIV-positive women in nine countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The women are all members of the mother2mother (m2m) network, which mentors and counsels HIV-positive mothers, helping them understand how to stay healthy, prevent transmission of the virus to their infants and care for their babies. To date, all their records have been paper-based.

HP says digitizing the patient records of the 700 m2m sites will allow for easier tracking and monitoring of the patients, enable easy sharing of information by health workers and allow m2m to scale knowledge and best practises across the network. Eventually, the system will also allow employees to collect and share data via basic mobile phones, creating an “ always connected” environment.

ICTs for early diagnosis

In another programme, HP has an alliance with the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) in Kenya. This initiative aims to improve the outcomes for babies born to HIV-positive mothers. 

It helps to test and treat over 120 000 infants exposed to HIV in Kenya each year.

With support from CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation, HP is providing technology that will capture, manage and return early infant diagnosis (EID) HIV test results in just one to two days after results are ready – a significant improvement from the previous paper-based system, which took two to three months.

The turnaround time for test results is especially critical, as infants diagnosed with HIV must begin anti-retroviral treatment (ART) as quickly as possible to ensure survival. Without immediate treatment, half of HIV-positive infants are unlikely to survive past age two.

The HP technology provisioning includes five HP data centers connected with four existing laboratories. Within the first year in operation, HP and CHAI expect to process EID HIV test results for approximately 70 000 infants, as well as provide real-time medical data to health practitioners throughout Kenya.

The system also will scale to support Kenya’ s Ministry of Public Health and Sanitation as it expands Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission (PMTCT) services to more than 3 000 facilities during the next two years.

Custom database developed in Kenya

To support CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Public Health & Sanitation in this effort, HP is supporting students from Strathmore University in Nairobi, Kenya, who have developed a custom database application that uses cloud computing to improve the tracking process and make test results available online, as well as via SMS/GSM-enabled printers in real time.

Strathmore students built the application using HP technology labs that were installed in Nairobi last year. The new database application also allows real-time analytics on the performance of the program to Ministry of Health decision makers.

Additionally, the database will be used to communicate with rural health centers via SMS regarding the status of test results.

The HP Office of Global Social Innovation has completed the installation of two data centers in Nairobi at the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and the National AIDS/STI Control Program (NASCOP) headquarters. Three additional sites are expected to be online next year at KEMRI centers in Busia, Kisumu and the Ministries of Health headquarters at Afya House.

HP’ s USD1 million investment also includes servers, storage, PCs, networking equipment, SMS-enabled printers, and local IT training and support.

“ Technological innovation holds immense promise for addressing societal challenges,” said Leo Apotheker, president and chief executive officer of HP.

“ Our efforts with CHAI and the Kenya Ministry of Health demonstrate the critical role technology can play in improving access to healthcare worldwide and driving positive change for millions of people.”

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