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Innovative approach to fight infant mortality in Burkina Faso

14 Jan 2014 Health and nutritionBurkina Faso
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Four hundred tablets with a SIM card and a software program designed to improve diagnoses made by nurses in rural areas: this is the audacious challenge which our Foundation Terre des hommes and the Ministry of health in Burkina have chosen to meet, whilst receiving support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNICEF. This experiment, a first in the region, aims to improve the quality of health services provided each year for over half a million children under five.

Wednesday 15th January 2014 will see the launch of this particularly bold project designed by Terre des hommes (Tdh), together with the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso. The IeDA (Integrated e-Diagnosic Approach) project will enable Burkina’s health system to improve efficiency by computerizing care for children under five in primary health centres.

This innovative model aims at tackling one of Burkina Faso’s greatest challenges: reducing child mortality. There, one child in eight still dies before the age of five, mainly due to benign pathologies that have not been correctly diagnosed.

Using IeDA to transform a promising attempt

Starting in 2011, Tdh has equipped some health centres in Tougan and Séguénéga with the Electronic Register for Consultations – REC, a tool able to guide the healthcare workers in making a thorough diagnostic and issuing a correct and appropriate prescription. Thanks to the support of the European Commission Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and UNICEF, this first version has since been improved and gradually extended to a hundred centres with very encouraging results and already 300,000 consultations have been recorded.

With the means put at its disposal by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Tdh takes a step forwards by deploying the project to 400 health facilities in rural areas. Using a mobile platform connected to the telephone network, the REC 2.0 would enable each health centre to be connected – almost in real time – to the district hospital and to its management teams. These would thus benefit from a mine of previously unseen information based on electronic patient files, and from analysis tools which would enable each centre to very easily identify the epidemiological tendencies, the anomalies and the problems. “ The REC 2.0 could revolutionize the practice of supervising health centres by the district management teams by making it more efficient, ” asserts David Kerespars, Tdh’s representative in Burkina Faso.

Supported by the world’s best experts on mother-and-child healthcare and telemedicine

Supported by the best world-renowned experts in mother-and-child healthcare and telemedicine, Tdh takes the lead in the deployment of the IeDA project. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and their partner in Burkina Faso, the Muraz Centre, will rally their researchers to carry out an evaluation of the project’s results. The University Research Company of Wisconsin (USA) will provide their expertise on quality management. The US social enterprise Dimagi, a leader of mobile medicine technology in Africa with its platform Com’care, will be responsible for developing the 2.0 version of REC.

" We have brought together all of the best elements because we have the ambition to show that with relatively modest technological means, it is possible to revolutionize the quality of medical care for children; and this not only in the 400 health centres targeted for now, but over a longer period, throughout the entire country, ” says Thierry Agagliate, one of the project’s designers.

Every year, Terre des hommes offers sustainable solutions and a better future for over two million children and their relatives. Learn more about our projects in Burkina Faso.

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