Setting up a Telemedicine Post in Zambia: Episode #8: Networking
by John Bennett MD
(To see the Previous 7 Posts, go HERE)
One of the benefits, of course, of the internet, is the networking potential.
I looked for Zambia contacts on LinkedIn, and came upon Kennedy Mwacalimba, a native of Zambia, who works in Indianapolis for a Dataset Company, and who has attended the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
I sent him the Gates Foundation proposal, and here is his reply:
“Thanks for this. Its definitely a cogent proposal and I would like to help out however I can. I recently consulted with a colleague who did an evaluation of mHealth technology in Tanzania so some of her ideas may be useful, I will have to look at the study again to see what I could add to your proposal. One thing that may be important to mention specifically is the Intergrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) platform. Your proposed mHealth project can also feed into the national surveillance system. You do talk about it, but in more general terms. Some specifics may help the proposal along. These are my initial thoughts.
So, already, just by an email he may have given a great lead, about the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Platform, which states, ….
Both communicable and non-communicable diseases remain among the leading
causes of death, illness, and disability in African communities. When surveillance
information is available and is supported by laboratory confirmation, these diseases,
conditions, and events can be detected and investigated in a timely manner, and
support an effective public health response. In 1998, the World Health
Organization Africa Regional Office instituted Integrated Disease Surveillance and
Response (IDSR), a strategy for strengthening the availability and use of
surveillance and laboratory data for detecting, reporting, investigating,
confirming, and responding to well-known and largely preventable priority
diseases as well as other public health events. Through technical assistance and
development of guidelines and tools, the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention’s (CDC) IDSR Team works closely with the World Health Organization
and African Ministries of Health towards:
• Improving public health surveillance and response systems for
prevention and control of priority diseases at all levels of national health
• Strengthening laboratory networks for laboratory confirmable diseases
in support of IDSR;
• Responding to health threats in a timely manner by using surveillance
and laboratory data for decision-making and public health actions; and
• Providing a platform for implementation of International Health
Regulation (IHR) (2005) Annex 1 core capacities for surveillance and
In conjunction with IHR (2005), IDSR targets the strengthening of systems to
effectively and efficiently detect and respond to 40 priority diseases and conditions
that afflict African communities.
Now, I do not know if this program is even known about at the clinic in Namu. Is it being implemented in the grass roots, or just a statement of goals?
Is Jones reporting all the cases of HIV and Malaria that he says he sees every day, and that heads the list of health problems?
But I will follow up on, and post it here. This darn clinic needs to be plugged-in to the great stuff going on in Africa.
Jones had problems with his Skype account, and internet connections, so not much from his end…..