UK Research and Innovation | Survey

ART on-the-go

The roll out of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Africa has been a massive success. The increasing numbers of people on ART and other chronic medications places huge burden on the health system. To manage this, some countries have introduced a differentiated care model which is supported by a central medicine dispensing and distribution programme. This means those who are on ART and are doing well with no other health reasons to visit their local health facility can pick up their ART from designated places in the community such as schools, churches and community pharmacies etc. Under this scenario, patients enrolled in the programme and can pick up to three months worth of medications at a time from their preferred community location. This replaces the old system in which patients have to visit health facilities monthly to pick up treatment for one month at time. However, this great idea faces lots of logistic challenges especially in the context of high population mobility.  People are not always close to where they are supposed to pick up their medications despite receiving an SMS notifying them to do so.  At other times , people visit their pick up centres only to realise their medication has not arrived. To address this issue, patients should be able to alter designated medication pick-up location in real time.

How could digital technologies provide a solution to this challenge?

With increasing mobile phone penetration in Africa, a potential solution is an interactive app. that allows two way communication between patients and dispensing programme. This should allow patients to alter pick up locations to suit their current location thereby preventing treatment interruption which is contributing to drug resistance in the region.

Benefits include fewer clinic visits for patients and increased capacity within the health system to care for those with complex health needs.

Charles Clerck 5 days ago

Interest topic Collins Iwuji. Have you seen these two other posts on a similar theme?
Mobile health application for remote monitoring of patients with chronic conditions - https://ukri.crowdicity.com/post/774220
Spatial identification of Primary Health Centers in Nigeria - https://ukri.crowdicity.com/post/695750

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Osu 5 days ago

There's somewhere in the forum as well where the use of drone is suggested for inaccessible remote areas. Combinations of these approaches can definitely ease the health access challenges.

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Charles Clerck 5 days ago

There was my blog post - The drone pilot whose maps are saving lives in Zanzibar https://ukri.crowdicity.com/blog/post/834060

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