The AKDN Digital Health Programme in East Africa

In July 2018, digital health services were initiated in East Africa under the AKDN Digital Health Programme, as a component of an ambitious expansion strategy that the Aga Khan Health Services (AKHS), East Africa has rolled out. The Aga Khan Hospital (AKH), Mombasa was connected to three outreach spoke centres in Kenya: Kilifi Health Centre; Ukunda Health Centre; and Aga Khan Academy, Mombasa, for provision of teleconsultation services in the fields of Family Medicine and Dermatology. eLearning services were also initiated, connecting multiple facilities in Kenya and Tanzania as spoke sites with the Aga Khan Health Board in USA; AKH, Mombasa; and the Mtwapa Outreach Centre.

The connection between the AKH, Mombasa with the Aga Khan Academy in Mombasa marks the first school health connection within the AKDN Digital Health Programme. The connection has been established to facilitate the students of the academy by reducing the costs and time associated with traveling to the hospital to seek medical help. Moreover, the connection helps reduce the patient inflow at the hospital.

A stethoscope and multipurpose scope has also been provided to each of the spoke sites to facilitate diagnosis during teleconsultations.

TKN Volunteers from Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB), USA were connected to health care providers in Kenya and Tanzania for eLearning services. This connection enabled capacity building of clinical nurses and nurse administrators to improve their skills in Neonatal and Paediatric Intensive Care; Oncology Care; and Nursing Leadership.

During 2018, four patients received treatment through teleconsultations and 1696 healthcare providers were trained through 93 sessions, across all sites in Kenya and Tanzania.

In terms of expansion, AKHS, EA in collaboration with AKDN dHRC plans to implement digital health services in five clusters, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nairobi in Kenya and Dar es Salaam and Mwanza in Tanzania. Future plans include the initiation and implementation of telemedicine services at the Voi Outreach Centre in Kenya in 2019. Furthermore, the surgery department at the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam is to be equipped for telesurgery services in telemedicine and eLearning. A team member of AKDN dHRC will be visiting the facility to assist AKHS, Tanzania with the implementation of the set-up.