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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Mobile App to Ease Diagnosis of Neglected Diseases in Africa

By Esther Nakkazi

They could be labelled 'Neglected' but are certainly not forgotten in the technology space. A mobile phone App has been developed to boost the diagnosis of neglected diseases at point of care in Africa.

It will also by-pass the use of sophisticated and expensive laboratory instruments which are difficult to use in resource poor settings.

The App will be implemented by ANDI the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation in collaboration with EASE-Medtrend Biotech based in China.

The project uses an Integrated Mobile Diagnostics Readout called the EASE App Technology, to attain state-of-the-art results for multiple diseases in less time and less cost, a press release from ANDI says. EASE stands for Equal Access to Scientific Excellence.

 The Application is now being optimized to perform different Point of Care and Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs) for diseases that are prevalent in Africa. Field evaluation is scheduled to start in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria within the next two months.

“We are not re-inventing RDTs basic principles--- we are making them more user friendly, manageable and affordable with all that "Big Data" and “Cloud Computing” can do for it,” said Dr Peter Chun the CEO of EASE-Medtrend Biotech.

“This leap-frogging approach to innovation in Africa is very promising. The mobile platform can be a game - changer for neglected diseases and other routine disease diagnosis in Africa....it can also support disease surveillance and drug resistance monitoring,” Dr Solomon Nwaka, the Executive Director of ANDI.

Although most Mobile Applications in the medical field provide a platform for information exchange and consultation they do not replace hardware. The EASE App aims to replace bulky and sophisticated instruments, which have limited utility in rural communities of Africa.

It can also be scaled or expanded to incorporate multiple tests, including routine laboratory diagnoses such as blood and urine analyses as well as tests for a number of communicable and non- communicable diseases that are now common in Africa.

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