GIANT telecoms firm, Econet Wireless, has launched a hypertension and sugar level testing device in Bulawayo under its connected health initiative that seeks to enhance access to medical assistance using modern technologies.
The revolutionary innovation is expected to help reduce the doctor-to-patient ratio by improving health care for communities as doctors can remotely monitor patients across a wider radius through data alerts using the electronic platform.
This is also set to improve access and ease the challenge of distance and costs incurred especially by rural communities when travelling to major health centres for health checks and consultation.
E-health super-channel partner, Ms Violet Kambasha, met the sales team for the new product in the city this week where she conducted training on how the device is used as well as its benefits to the community
“We are spearheading this device, which is a BP and sugar glucose monitoring machine and it’s electronically connected. We are moving towards improving health care access in communities through our e-health services and platform. Once one buys this device we log them into the system where they send information and do readings, which go to the platform that is managed by professional doctors on call,” she said.
“We have doctors at our call centre who do close monitoring of every patient. We are bringing this device to Bulawayo market for the first time and delivering e-health as a solution to the city and benefits through engaging employers and individuals.”
Ms Kambasha said Econet was already working closely with some entities in the city to roll out the service after successfully launching it in Harare.
She said corporates, government institutions and individual users could also use the device as it has numerous health benefits.
“Any individual can have this device, which has a sim-card to transmit the data of the reading from the patient to the doctor. It also transmits information to the central server for storage where patients can access it anytime. The device also transmits an SMS alert to a caregiver, who could be a family member, for accountability,” Ms Kambasha.
“For example if the BP reading is abnormal, the system will send an alert message to family member. As Econet we have medical practitioners who would be monitoring patients and giving advice and tips to manage their condition to the point of medication.”
Among other benefits, the device allows patients to do their BP and sugar checks at home, assists in health record keeping and reduces travelling and consultation costs. From an employer’s point of view the device helps increase productivity as employees can monitor and manage their BP or sugar levels even from their work station, said Ms Kambasha.
“The device also allows workers to be pro-active about their health and that of their loved ones including their parents. Our target market are corporates and this includes small to medium enterprises,” she said.
The device costs $272 and offers a three-year guarantee while users like corporates are allowed to make payment plans of up to 36 months.
Ms Kambasha said the initiative has been approved by Government adding that those who obtain it were eligible to accessing a full package to connected health services at minimal cost. She said Econet will aggressively spread the programme across the country and possibly extend it abroad.
“We are looking at the internet of things and this focuses on lifestyle of people. This service adds to connected home and connected car and we are looking at the total package of community life,” she said.
“We want to work with people who are business minded, people who uphold our brand and understand what it means, people with an entrepreneurial spirit that take this brand and own it.”
The e-health platform offers wellness and prevention tips, diagnosis through dial a doctor facility, which is available in all languages and advice on how to manage those with such conditions.
Chronic diseases such as BP and diabetes are regarded as silent killers the world over yet with awareness and monitoring millions of lives could be saved. – Chronicle