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Daktari Smart Telemedicine Initiative Aims to Reach 32,400 Children, Plans to Impact 5 Million Over Five Years

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The Daktari Smart program, a telemedicine initiative led by Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital in collaboration with Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation and the M-PESA Foundation, aims to provide medical care to a minimum of 32,400 children across five counties in its initial phase.

Over the next five years, the goal is to impact 5 million children in the region, providing direct care to 45,000 children suffering from complex non-communicable diseases like cancer and cardiovascular conditions.

Since its launch in 2021, the Daktari Smart initiative has delivered specialized pediatric medical care to 10,000 children. Services are currently available in Narok, Samburu, Baringo, Homa Bay, and Lamu counties.

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During the World Health Day event, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, Dr Robert Nyarango advocated for the use of telemedicine technology to deliver affordable, high-quality care, thereby expanding coverage and reducing preventable childhood deaths.

He highlighted the success of the Daktari Smart program in five counties and stressed the potential for collaboration among stakeholders to extend its reach further.

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“The Daktari Smart programme has so far been implemented in 5 counties, allowing 10,000 children to
access specialized pediatric care that they would otherwise never have received. There is an
opportunity to serve more children through working together as stakeholders to increase the number of
counties on Daktari Smart to support the limited number of pediatricians and other specialists. At such a scale and with the communities covered under Social Health Insurance Fund (SHIF), the healthcare system will be strengthened to deliver high quality early diagnosis and more efficient utilization of the available scarce healthcare resources.”

This year’s World Health Day theme, “My Health, My Right,” emphasizes universal access to healthcare as a fundamental human right. The World Health Organization urges the improvement of healthcare service accessibility as part of its campaign.

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A study conducted in 2022 revealed a significant shortage of healthcare professionals in Kenya, with only 13.8 workers per 10,000 people, far below the World Heald Organization (WHO) recommended ratio.

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Acting Director General for Health at the Ministry of Health, Dr Patrick Amoth affirmed the importance of technology in addressing this gap and pledged policy support for telemedicine and other health technology initiatives.

Dr Amoth also announced the establishment of a digital health board tasked with developing regulations to govern telemedicine and other electronic health initiatives, ensuring compliance with existing laws and data protection measures.

“The power of telemedicine is amazing because it can help reach people in underserved communities
with health services. We are now in the process of developing regulations to operationalise e-health, m-
health, and telemedicine with careful consideration of our laws and data protection and confidentiality. The recently inaugurated board of digital health has been tasked with developing these regulations
within the next 6 weeks for submission to parliament for approval,” said Dr. Amoth.

Karen Basiye, Director of Sustainable Business and Social Impact at Safaricom PLC, emphasized the need for partnerships and investment to sustain the impact of health-tech initiatives like Daktari Smart. She highlighted Safaricom’s commitment to developing digital health solutions that enhance healthcare accessibility and affordability.

The Daktari Smart telemedicine kit includes various electronic medical devices such as the Electronic Stethoscope, Vital Signs Monitor, Derma Scope Camera, Ultrasound Machine, Otoscope for inner ear examination, and Electrocardiogram (ECG).

These devices enable local healthcare workers to conduct examinations on patients, with specialist doctors at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital providing remote diagnosis and advanced medical care.

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Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu
Diana Mutheu is a Tech enthusiast, happy to delve deeper into the African tech space covering Social Media, AI, Startups, Telcos, Cryptocurrency, Big Data, Women in Tech and all matters Tech. Write to me @[email protected]

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