STI4D, a sister company to SVRG, is carrying this project out jointly with our NGO partners in Tanzania, Orkonerei Maasai Social Initiatives (OMASI). This project is funded by InnovateUK, the UK’s Innovation Agency.
Access to good healthcare is often challenging in the developing world, but this is greatly compounded for people living in remote off-grid rural communities. Such communities usually don’t have any local health officers or clinics. And if they do, the facilities are usually poor, because they lack power, communications and equipment. To access even basic healthcare requires a walk of hours, even days, and/or paying for public transport to the nearest town or city, which is expensive and time-consuming, for a journey that may prove quite unnecessary.
Modern ICT demonstrates the power of videoconferencing, but for rural communities, this has not yet been exploited due to lack of equipment and/or signal. We intend to test an innovative approach to rural healthcare, whereby a community can access the services of a qualified medical professional remotely via videoconference. A community operator of the system will be trained to take basic diagnostic measurements, like temperature and blood pressure, which can be done easily with cheap devices. Such teleconsultations will often be sufficient to address basic problems and questions, and can also highlight cases where the expense and time of a clinic-visit is justified.