A new telemedicine facility could be the answer to the healthcare situation in Uganda’s rural area. This is a platform which allows the local health care workers to consult online with doctors in Kampala.
On a normal day, dozens of patients will wait stoically to be attended to, some of which are straight forward others require argent medical attention.
Rosemary Napeyok, head of the facility, in Nadunget Health Center in Karamoja, northeastern Uganda said: “The major conditions we treat here are malaria, respiratory tract infections and gastrointestinal infections. But not all cases are so simple, and like all health centers in Karamoja, Nadunget has no doctor. Advanced stages of AIDS, severe malaria and more obscure diseases often baffle the nurses. Standard procedure is to send such patients to the referral hospital in the town of Moroto, 10 kilometers away.”
Napeyou added that, the roads are terrible, transport is often lacking and even the referral hospital has only two doctors; not forgetting that mobile phone network is also an issue.
The new telemedicine satellite Internet connection will make things a bit bearable in the area. A simple call over Skype could save a life or treat a patient.
Godfrey Bampiiga from UNICEF, responsible for the pilot the concept of telemedicine, explained that the computers the health center uses run on solar power, important in a region almost completely off the electric grid.
He added that what the nurses need to do is to turn it to face where the patient is, and the doctor will see exactly how the patient is doing.