Etisalat backs mobile health initiative in Tanzania
Tanzania, September 19, 2011
Etisalat, Zantel, Qualcomm and D-Tree International will use mobile technology to support healthcare providers in offering quality counseling, preventive care and treatment to women and children in Tanzania.
Essa Al Haddad, Etisalat group chief marketing officer and chairman of Zantel, announced the joint programme between the four companies to bring mobile health services to Tanzania. The companies are working closely with the government of Zanzibar.
Etisalat, Zantel and Qualcomm will provide connectivity, handsets and other technologies to the program, while D-tree International in conjunction with the Ministry of Health of Zanzibar alongside several leading international non-governmental organizations will deploy the service.
Commenting on this initiative, Haddad said: “This partnership is part of a broader series of agreements that combine a numbers of technologies from leading companies and experts in mobile healthcare.”
“This includes decision support applications and integrated technological backbones for scalable mobile solutions. These agreements will help support the treatment of children, pregnant women and chronic diseases,” he added.
Etisalat’s program, along with its partners, has been initiated in light of the risk of maternal fatalities which are estimated at 50 times higher in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to developed countries.
Nearly half a million women on the continent die each year in pregnancy and four million newborns die during the first 28 days.
Al Haddad continued: “We have been spurred to introduce this program putting in mind the rapid penetration of mobile phones in the developing countries and the need to use advanced technology to provide and support healthcare in these markets.”
“Malnutrition and lack of medical care for pregnant women have cost millions of lives and are most dangerous in countries across Africa, including Tanzania”, he said.
Highlighting on the program’s features, Hadad said: “This application will help to fight malnutrition in children and provide safer pregnancies for women in Tanzania. The mobile phone will be equipped with special software to help medical professionals care for children and maintain a patient record which helps support extended care."
"The tool also aids midwives which will ensure safer deliveries for pregnant women. It can help in quickly and accurately identifying obstetric emergencies, as well as enabling caregivers to arrange transportation during emergencies to the nearest healthcare facility where patients can receive the appropriate care.”
Dr Marc Mitchell, president of D-Tree, said “We believe that mHealth has the potential to revolutionise the way health services are provided in countries such as Tanzania. By providing decision support tools to frontline health workers, combined with Etisalat’s extensive telecommunications portfolio, we can assist governments to extend the reach of the health system into the communities where people live.” – TradeArabia News Service