The aim of the telemedicine program is to improve child health in rural and underserved areas; and also provide training and peer to peer liaison for health workers in rural and other underserved areas. The program began as the TeleAfya Kenya project in 2012, spearheaded by Cisco Systems. Other partners in the project are Telkom Kenya and Kenyatta University School of Medicine. The initial health facilities to be served were Sekenani Health Centre in Narok County and Kibera Soweto East Resource Centre in Nairobi County. Thereafter, Daadab Level 4 Hospital was added to the project, with support from the County Innovation Challenge Fund, a U.K. Department for International Development (DfID) funded program that supports the Government of Kenya’s efforts to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality in Bungoma, Garissa, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Nairobi (Embakasi and Kamukunji areas) and Turkana counties.
Cisco Systems donated the Health Presence Communication Equipment which combines high-definition video, advanced audio and patient medical device data to create an environment similar to an in-person visit to a doctor or health specialist. The equipment comes with an examination camera, headphones, telephonic stethoscope, vital signs monitor, otoscope, ECG (electrocardiogram) and EEG (electroencephalogram). The screens are also used for video conferencing so as to facilitate training and peer to peer liaison for health workers serving in these facilities. Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and Kenyatta University School of Medicine provide free specialist medical consultation services and training of healthcare workers at Sekenani Health Centre and Kibera Soweto East Resource Centre. Also, Telkom Kenya provided free bandwidth to the 2 provider sites (Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and Kenyatta University School of Medicine) and the 2 patient sites (Sekenani Health Centre and Kibera Soweto East Resource Centre) for a period of 24 months.
The platform has been used to refer over 120 cases and train over 60 community health volunteers to help in patient follow up after clinic appointments, adherence to medication for conditions such as HIV/AIDS and TB (Tuberculosis), and identification of conditions such as malnutrition in children. Through this program, we aim to be the pioneers in the country in the use of telemedicine to improve the health outcomes of people living in rural and underserved areas.