April, 30th 2014

Although as many as 80 percent of Ghanaian women seek prenatal care, HIV testing is often deferred due to a lack of public awareness, limited access to diagnostic tests and cultural stigma. As a tragic result, Ghana is among the world’s 22 countries with the highest burden of HIV infection in pregnant women. But Ghana is fighting back. President John Dramani Mahama recently announced the formation of a global consortium to reduce Ghana’s mother-to-child HIV transmission rate to less than one percent by 2020.

A critical component of the success of this vital mission will be Ghana’s collaboration with researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and expert strategists from the IBM Corporate Service Corps (CSC). Using advanced IBM Data Analytics and SmartCloud infrastructure, the CSC/Yale School of Medicine team will work with Ghanaian policy makers and health care experts to design the first phase of shutting down mother-to-child HIV infection for good.

The IBM Corporate Service Corps program deploys teams of top talent from IBM and its partners to conduct pro bono consulting engagements around the world. The goals for this joint project with the Yale School of Medicine will include devising strategies and methodologies to:

  • Use advanced data analytics to target and expand routine HIV testing for all
    pregnant women
  • Optimize the prompt initiation of antiretroviral therapy to pregnant women infected
    with HIV
  • Deploy mobile computing solutions to monitor and help care for HIV-positive women beyond the prenatal period
  • Develop sustainable protocols for preventing mother-to-child HIV transmission

The CSC/Yale School of Medicine team will collaborate with Ghanaian authorities to
tackle this critical challenge and reduce its impact on Ghana’s public health and
economic development.

We are excited to contribute to what we expect to be the first of many breakthroughs in health care delivery throughout Ghana. In addition to hobbling a disease that affects so many lives, we expect our pilot program to serve as a model for the use of data analytics,mobile computing and cloud computing technologies to help address and overcome numerous public health crises across sub-Saharan Africa.

Joe Mensah is the General Manager of IBM in Ghana.


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