In impoverished regions of the world, where disease is prevalent, health care professionals are scarce and health care infrastructure is inadequate, telemedicine provides an innovative solution to connect underserved populations with the resources of the developed world. Kenya and Tanzania have been facing a global health workforce crisis. There are only 1.9 doctors and 8.6 nurses and midwives for every 10,000 people in Kenya while the situation is worse in Tanzania, with 5.2 clinical health workers for every 10,000 people - one fifth of the optimal ratio recommended by the World Health Organization.
In July 2018, digital health services were introduced in East Africa under the AKDN Digital Health Programme. The Aga Khan Hospital (AKH), Mombasa was connected to two outreach spoke centres in Kenya, the Kilifi Health Centre and the Ukunda Health Centre, for teleconsultation services in family medicine and dermatology.
eLearning services connect multiple health facilities in Kenya and Tanzania as spoke sites with the Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB) in USA; AKH, Mombasa; and the Mtwapa Outreach Centre. TKN Volunteers from Aga Khan Health Board (AKHB), USA are connected to health care providers in Kenya and Tanzania. The connection enables capacity building of clinical nurses and nurse administrators to improve their skills in neonatal and paediatric intensive care; oncology care; and nursing leadership. During 2019, 1884 health care providers were trained through 76 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.
Team members of AKDN dHRC visited Tanzania to set-up telesurgery services in mid-June 2019. During the visit, a telesurgery setup was installed at the Aga Khan Hospital, Dar es Salaam and trainings were conducted. The first recording of a telesurgery eLearning session is expected in 2020.
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