Etisalat`s Group Chief Marketing Officer and Chairman of Zantel, Essa Al Haddad, has announced a joint program between the Etisalat Group, Zantel, Qualcomm and D-Tree International to bring mobile health services to Tanzania.
Working closely with the Government of Zanzibar, Etisalat, Zantel and D-Tree International will use mobile technology to support front-line healthcare providers in offering high quality counseling, preventive care and treatment to women and children.
Etisalat, Zantel and Qualcomm will provide connectivity, handsets and other technologies to the program, while D-tree International in conjunction with the Ministry of Health of Zanzibar alongside several leading international non-governmental organizations will deploy the service.
Commenting on this initiative Essa Al Haddad, Group Chief Commercial Officer said: “This partnership is part of a broader series of agreements that combine a numbers of technologies from leading companies and experts in mobile healthcare. This includes decision support applications and integrated technological backbones for scalable mobile solutions. These agreements will help support the treatment of children, pregnant women and chronic diseases.”
Etisalat’s program, along with its partners, has been initiated in light of the risk of maternal fatalities which are estimated at 50 times higher in Sub-Saharan Africa compared to developed countries. Nearly half a million women on the continent die each year in pregnancy and four million newborns die during the first twenty-eight days.
Al Haddad continued: “We have been spurred to introduce this program putting in mind the rapid penetration of mobile phones in the developing countries and the need to use advanced technology to provide and support healthcare in these markets. Malnutrition and lack of medical care for pregnant women have cost millions of lives and are most dangerous in countries across Africa, including Tanzania.”
Highlighting on the program’s features Al Hadad said: “This application will help to fight malnutrition in children and provide safer pregnancies for women in Tanzania. The mobile phone will be equipped with special software to help medical professionals care for children and maintain a patient record which helps support extended care. The tool also aids midwives which will ensure safer deliveries for pregnant women. It can help in quickly and accurately identifying obstetric emergencies, as well as enabling caregivers to arrange transportation during emergencies to the nearest healthcare facility where patients can receive the appropriate care.”
Hon. Dr. Mohammed Al Jiddawi Principle Secretary of the Ministry of Health Tanzania stated that: “Malnutrition in children and women in Tanzania is one of the major challenges we are facing. For these reasons, Zanzibar has undertaken many programs to enhance the provision of emergency obstetric care and other child health improvements. Thanks to this advanced technology we are able to transform the way we serve the people of Tanzania. We are delighted to work with a company such as Etisalat, and its consortium of partners, for their expertise in employing technologies to support the community’s well-being.”
Dr Marc Mitchell, President of D-Tree, said “We believe that mHealth has the potential to revolutionize the way health services are provided in countries such as Tanzania. By providing decision support tools to frontline health workers, combined with Etisalat’s extensive telecommunications portfolio, we can assist governments to extend the reach of the health system into the communities where people live. We are proud to work with Etisalat as one of few operators that have the potential facilities in Africa, the Middle East and Asia to make this initiative a success.”
Jay Srage, President of Middle East and Africa operations for Qualcomm, said: “Wireless connectivity holds the power to extend quality health care to remote areas by effectively removing the geographic barrier between health care provider and patient. Qualcomm is pleased to collaborate with Etisalat, D-Tree and others in bringing the benefits of mHealth to Tanzania have underserved communities.”