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Deaf Support Initiative underway in Kenya

A new eHealth initiative has been piloted in Kenya. The Def Aid Mobile Hearing Clinic, situated in Nairobi’s Kawangware slum, has implemented Cisco’s care-at-a distance technology in conjunction with Deaf Aid and Safaricom, with support from Nairobi’s Menelik Hospital.

This first implementation of Cisco’s HealthPresence solution in Kenya demonstrated how technology can transform the delivery of healthcare to underserved, remote, and rural areas. Bandwidth connectivity was provided by Safaricom, the leading provider of converged communication solutions in Kenya.

Deaf Aid’s Mobile Hearing Clinic is designed as an outreach tool for early identification of deaf and hard of hearing children, and prevention of avoidable hearing loss through medical intervention. They deliver ontological services directly to communities, so that children with any form of hearing loss or any other ear disorder are identified and referred for appropriate intervention and rehabilitation.

The Cisco HealthPresence solution combines high-definition video, advanced audio, and network-transmitted medical data to create an environment similar to what people experience when they visit their local doctor or health specialist. It can be configured to support multiple locations and to use network connectivity to match the appropriate expert with the health needs of the patient. Designed for use by a licensed healthcare professional, it can extend the reach of healthcare providers, increasing access to specialists and can be used to redirect unnecessary hospital visits to low-cost clinics.

Cisco HealthPresence allows patients to interact through technology with doctors who may be hundreds of kilometres away, within a clinical setting. It creates a dynamic environment for patient care, delivers a true-to-life experience between the patient and the provider, and helps improve lives by making it easier to access care.

The Early Identification Program in Kenya was designed as a result of a research conducted by Deaf Aid seeking to identify the causes of poor performance among the deaf children.

Jean Claude Adzalla, Country Director Deaf Aid, commented: “Healthcare initiatives are a key priority for Kenya’s National Agenda, and at Deaf Aid our aim is to help to improve the quality of life for Kenyan’s and guarantees social welfare. Kenya, a country of 40 million inhabitants only has 42 Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist doctors. This makes a ratio of 1 ENT specialist per 1 million inhabitants rendering the cost of ENT treatment highly prohibitive. As a result, poor communities have very limited access to ENT care and hence count among the highest affected by hearing disorders and deafness.”

Den Sullivan, Head of Architectures and Enterprise, Emerging Theatre, Cisco, EMEA: “Cisco Care-at-a-Distance Solutions are transforming healthcare by providing a new access model that enables patients from under-privileged and rural communities to connect with the best clinician for their specific condition, regardless of patient or clinician’s location. They are directly impacting lives by making quality healthcare accessible to remote, rural populations and underserved individuals and communities.”

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