The virtual doctor is in

Thursday, June 11, 2015

SOS Uses Telemedicine to Deliver Medical Services to Remote Areas in Benin

Elias, 9, feels weak, is always thirsty and is continuously losing weight. He desperately needs a doctor, but the next hospital is a two-day journey by foot.

Thankfully, for SOS Benin, new technological aid can now bridge the gap and make health screenings for patients with no access to close medical facilities possible.

Joanne Miller, one of SOS Children's Villages' health co-workers for the Abomey-Calavi region in Benin, noticed Family Strengthening Program recipient Elias' condition during one of her visits to the Family Strengthening Program, and got out her Telemedicine Kit. The kit consists of a laptop and a range of practical health examination tools like a fever thermometer, blood pressure gauge and basic medication.

Joanne starts the laptop and records a range of medical data like body temperature, weight, height, blood pressure and blood sugar level with the help of the Safe Patient System software. She then transmits the data in real-time to the urban medical centre 200 km away.

Here, the doctor on duty analyzes the data Joanne transmitted and provides her with a diagnosis and advice. Elias suffers from Diabetes.

The next time Joanne comes back and checks on Elias she updates his record in the software programme and consults with the doctor again.  “Some weeks later, the nurse rechecked the glycemic rate of my son and the nurse confirmed to me that my boy is now healthy and blood sugar rate is again stable” says Elias’ father, Robert.

The Telemedicine “kit” can help the medical team of SOS Dassa-Zoumé to detect and treat diseases such as high blood pressure, respiratory infections, skin diseases, otitis, bronchitis, eye diseases, malnutrition among children.

To assess the impact of the service provided SOS Benin collects data in real time. Using a mobile application called Poimapper, SOS Benin includes a digital questionnaire made of the project’s indicators thus allowing users to compile information on the usage of the Telemedicine Kit as well as its impact on beneficiaries.

Based on the success of the pilot project and possible further funding, SOS Children’s Villages Benin hopes to be able to expand the project and continues bringing health services to the most vulnerable children.

Canadian's wishing to support SOS Children's Villages are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor a village or to make a direct donation. Your support ensures that SOS Children's Villages can continue to provide a safe and loving home to orphan and abandoned children worldwide.

Canadians wishing to help vulnerable children are encouraged to sponsor a child, sponsor a Village or make a one-time donation. Your support will change the lives of orphaned, abandoned and other vulnerable children. Please help today.