By Edna Mwende
Liquid Telecom has partnered with Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa to make telemedicine a reality for thousands of patients of the hospital.
The company which supplies fibre optic, satellite and international carrier services to Africa’s largest mobile network operators has connected the main hospital in Mombasa, to seven of its outreach centres in Voi, Nyali, Bamburi Mwisho, Kilifi, Changamwe, Mtwapa and Ukunda bringing healthcare closer to the community.
In a press statement, Adil Youssefi, the Liquid Telecom Kenya Chief Executive Officer Liquid Telecom said that: “As healthcare providers strive to make specialists more accessible in an affordable way through telemedicine, Liquid Telecom Kenya has been able to offer both the high-speed internet connectivity and software to enable uninterrupted two-way audio-visual and data communication in a delivery that aligns exactly with our vision of driving digital transformation across Africa.”
The initiative has seen the hospital invest in state of the art cardiac catheterization laboratory, a 1.5 Tesla Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine and a digital Health Management Information Systems (HMIS) – managing inpatient and outpatient records.
“We have installed digital stethoscopes and multi-purpose scope equipment for examining a patients’ vitals. With these, specialists will be able to see in real time, say, the condition of the skin, and other vital readings, then offer consultancy and diagnostics,” Sultana Shermana, Interim CEO of Aga Khan Hospital Mombasa said in the statement.
Commenting on how the telemedicine is expected to work, the Head of ICT at Aga Khan Hospital, Mombasa James Siku explained that when a patient at a clinic requires specialized attention, the clinicians will log a video request with the specialist and run a video conference with both specialist and patient.
“They will also use our newly installed digital medical equipment to make a diagnosis, with everything about the patient recorded in the hospital records system,” he added.
The telemedicine services will be focusing on family medicine, obstetrician-gynaecologist, ear, nose and throat as well as dermatology and comes at a time when Kenya is facing a challenge in getting good health experts especially in dermatology (skin diseases and complications) and Otolaryngology (Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) diseases.
The initiative will see over 200 patients benefiting daily with Hemed Twahir, Medical Director at Aga Khan Hospital Mombasa pointing out that travel costs to the hospital have been prohibitive for patients who struggle to buy even the basic medication and follow-up on their appointments.