On February 12 and 13, the Second Annual CTED Conference took place in Abu Dhabi, titled: “Enhancing Economic Development through Technology: Focus on Africa and other Developing Countries”. Read below CTED PhD student Alex Coutts’ post on the Technology for Healthcare Panel.
The technologies for healthcare panel presented some exciting new work in developing technology in new ways to address problems unique to the developing world:
Dr. Michael Perrott of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology presented research on utilizing economies of scale in healthcare technology in order to reach the world’s poor in an affordable, sustainable manner. It’s unrealistic to simply transfer sensitive, power-intensive, and expensive healthcare devices to the developing world. Instead his research focuses on developing ultra low power and low cost devices suitable for less developing country contexts.
Dr. Umar Saif at MIT believes that we can save lives through early warning systems made possible by the use of technology. The 2011 dengue fever outbreak in Punjab affected 300,000 individuals, and killed thousands. Using Dr. Saif’s early warning system, it is possible to take advantage of advanced geographic and spatial models of disease outbreak to get help to those most in need. Advanced tracking of calls placed to the help line can give disease experts and healthcare professionals a better picture of how an epidemic is spread, and allow them to better mobilize their resources to save lives.
Dr. Bill Thies of Microsoft Research is conducting groundbreaking research to address the gap between drug availability and proper adherence to dosage. Tuberculosis kills two million people a year, and while in India antibiotics are free, deaths from TB are still common. Using fingerprinting technology on both doctors and patients it is possible to ensure that doctors are providing the proper dosages, and patients are taking them. By holding both accountable, it is possible to avoid these preventable deaths from TB.
Santanu Biswas is the director of e-health services at du, a telecommunications company based in the UAE. His aim is to create an m-health product that is accountable to the patient, by providing up to date information catered to that individual. Chronic illness information combined with bio-medical monitoring technology will allow individuals to live the healthiest, most comfortable lives possible given the current state of health technology.