Inmarsat brings life-saving connectivity to West Africa

09 December 2014: Families living in Benin, West Africa and more than 1,000 children in scattered communities are benefiting from better medical care thanks to a pilot eHealth programme.

Benin telemedicine

Working in conjunction with Safe Triage and SOS Children’s Village Benin, Inmarsat has loaned BGAN terminals and provided a three-month BGAN Link GEO service at no cost.

BGAN Link is Inmarsat’s broadband data service for remote areas that require high volumes of always-on standard IP data for sustained periods of operation. It is powering crucial connectivity to allow specialist doctors to remotely monitor the health of patients in the village and flag early detections of conditions such as diabetes, hypothermia and high blood pressure.

Treatment options

The Safe Patient Systems telemedicine kit in use in Benin, called Safe Triage, records a range of medical data that is then transmitted in real-time over Inmarsat’s reliable I-4 network to doctors who can access the information via a shared server, increasing the range of diagnostic and treatment options available to patients attending the rural clinics. 

Drew Brandy, Inmarsat Vice President, Enterprise Strategic Development, said: “Across the world we are seeing how telemedicine can improve the lives of countless families, particularly children, living in remote and isolated regions. 

“But telemedicine can only succeed with a reliable, always-on communications network, which is often not available in the locations where remote health is needed most. BGAN Link and the Inmarsat network offer the type of uninterrupted, highly reliable connectivity that can help doctors around the world extend their reach and provide health services to those sorely in need.”

Human right

So far, out of the 180 eHealth consultations that took place in the first month of the programme, specialist doctors spotted 16 patients with conditions serious enough to need hospitalisation.

Salimane Issifou, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Benin, added: “The medical follow-up and monitoring of the children from our Family Strengthening SOS Community Programme is not an easy task, because they live in remote areas and sometimes in zones with difficult access.

“The Safe Patient Systems kit allows the possibility to record health constants on a person and makes them available in real time on a server accessible by doctors.”

David Morgan, Medical Director, Safe Triage, added: “Allowing access to high level medical care is a fundamental human right so frequently denied. Telemedicine redresses this problem and is a real game changer not only for Benin but other areas in the world where medical provision is in short supply or unavailable.”

SOS Children’s Villages: