Telemedicine pilot project supports acute and preventative medical care
9 December 2014 – Families in areas of Benin, West Africa, and more than 1,000 children dispersed across the community are now able to receive enhanced medical care. Working in conjunction with Safe Triage Ltd and SOS Children’s Village Benin, Inmarsat has deployed loan BGAN terminals and a three month BGAN Link GEO service at no cost, to connect local co-workers of SOS Children’s Villages with specialists at an urban hospital and allowing for the sharing of medical data.
BGAN Link is Inmarsat’s broadband data service designed specifically for users working in remote areas that require high monthly volumes of always-on standard IP data for sustained periods of operation. Operating over Inmarsat’s reliable I-4 network, BGAN Link is powering crucial connectivity to allow specialist doctors to remotely monitor health conditions of patients in the village and flag early detections of diseases such as diabetes, hypothermia and high blood pressure, particularly amongst pregnant women and children.
“Across the world we are seeing how telemedicine can improve the lives of countless families, particularly children, living in remote and isolated regions of the world,” said Drew Brandy, Vice President, Enterprise Strategic Development, Inmarsat. “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.”
The Safe Patient Systems telemedicine kit in use in Benin, Safe Triage, records a range of medical data that is then transmitted in real-time over Inmarsat’s network, using BGAN Link, to doctors who can access the information via a shared server for remote monitoring and follow-up, thereby increasing the range of diagnostic and treatment options and opportunities available to patients attending the rural clinics
“We were delighted to support SOS Children’s Villages International in their vision and that the STS Telemedicine Unit worked so effectively in the assessment and treatment of patients in remote areas of Benin who would normally have difficulty accessing specialist care,” said David Morgan, Medical Director, STS. “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.”
In the first month of the program, more than 180 eHealth consultations have been conducting healthy assessments. Already, in sixteen of those cases, medical conditions serious enough to require hospitalisation were identified and acted upon.
“The medical follow up and monitoring of the children from our Family Strengthening (FSP), SOS Community Programme, is not an easy task, because they live in remote areas and sometimes in zones with difficult access”, said Salimane Issifou, National Director of SOS Children’s Villages Benin. “The Safe Patient kit allows the possibility to record health constants on a person and makes them available in real time on a server accessible by doctors. Our social co-workers and other community co-workers can, during the periodic visits to the FSP beneficiaries, use the kit for collecting medical data which will be transmitted in real time to the doctors at our medical centres who can ensure remotely the health follow up for these families”.
“In an area of the world where the availability of power and electricity is no certainty, let alone broadband data, the connectivity provided by BGAN Link is crucial and has already helped to stave off serious and potentially life-threatening illness,” Nada El Marji, Director, NGO Business states, “We are very proud to stand alongside our partners in this extremely worthwhile initiative.”
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SOS Children’s Villages is the largest non-governmental organisation focused on children without parental care and families at risk. The organisation was founded in 1949 and today runs more than 2,300 programmes reaching more than a million children and adults in 133 countries and territories.
SOS Children’s Villages Benin, opened its first SOS Children’s Village in Abomey-Calavi in 1987. In 1999, a second SOS Children’s Village was opened in Natitingou. In 2005, Dassa-Zoumé experienced commissioning of the SOS Children’s Village. SOS Children’s Villages Benin is a social development organization independent and respectful of different religions and cultures. They work in communities where their mission can contribute to development of communities developing care, education and health programmes. SOS Children’s Villages Benin works in the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. In SOS Children’s Villages Benin, such as SOS Families and the Families of Origin, the decisions which are based on the best interest of the child allow us to provide children in need, with stable and reliable relationships, family environment and the assurance of individual development.
For more information about SOS Children’s Villages, please visit: www.sos-childrensvillages.org