Thursday, March 19, 2009

Indus Hospital and Nokia Pakistan Implement Electronic Surveillance System for Pneumonia in Karachi

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The Indus Hospital Research Center and Nokia Pakistan announced the successful implementation of INTERACTIVE ALERTS, an electronic surveillance system for pneumonia in Karachi at a press conference held at the Indus Hospital. The Interactive Alerts system was designed by Interactive Research and Development (IRD), in collaboration with the Next Billion Network program at the MIT Media Lab.
The Interactive Alerts system has been specifically developed to use the Nokia 6131 NFC phone for childhood pneumonia surveillance and referral in low-resource settings, although it can be easily extended to other diseases. At the time of the 6-week vaccination visit, children are given a radio frequency ID (RFID) tag in the form of a traditional bracelet. This tag provides a unique ID to the child, and parents are advised and encouraged to take sick children to participating general practitioner clinics or general hospitals in the program. At each encounter, the Nokia 6131 NFC phone is used to scan the child’s tag. Pertinent immunization, clinical and laboratory data is collected and posted to the server via GPRS in real-time, and can be viewed over a secure website.
The innovativeness of this approach is that it helps overcome the challenges of disease tracking and patient referral in settings where medical records and referral systems do not exist. The RFID bracelet provides unique identification, allowing health workers to verify identity and view basic medical records, and respond to emergencies quickly.
Pneumonia is a leading cause of childhood death in countries with high under-5 mortality rates. Invasive pneumococcal diseases the # 1 vaccine-preventable cause of death in children under 5 years of age. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 1 million children under 5 die each year due to pneumococcal diseases.
IRD has established pneumonia surveillance in Karachi in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH), the Program for Appropriate Technologies in Health (PATH) and the Indus Hospital. The objective of collecting this data is to provide policy makers in Pakistan and in the region the information required for introducing appropriate and new vaccines against pneumonia for children.
Interactive Alerts was co-developed by IRD’s health informatics team, led by Omar Allawala (Director of Information Technology) and Julia Irani (IT Project Manager),and a team of researchers and students from the Next Billion Network at MIT. The MIT team proposed the idea of using the Nokia NFC phones, and produced an initial design and working prototype, from which the IRD team then developed the final product.
Commenting on the project, Damien Balsan, Director, Head of NFC Business Development Americas, Nokia said, “Nokia vision states; We believe in a world where connecting people to what matters empowers them to make the most of every moment. NFC is one of the ways to define the Nokia vision in terms of community services. We are committed to this project and will assign as much resources as we can to ensure expansion of this project to a greater geographical area.
About Nokia: Nokia is the world’s number one manufacturer of mobile devices by market share and a leader in the converging Internet and communications industries. We make a wide range of devices for all major consumer segments and offer Internet services that enable people to experience music, maps, media, messaging and games. We also provide comprehensive digital map information through NAVTEQ and equipment, solutions and services for communications networks through Nokia Siemens Networks.
About Indus Hospital: The Indus Hospital is a state of the art 150 bed tertiary care center accessible to the public free of charge. A team of local and expatriate professionals provide specialized medical care with an emphasis on innovation and research. The tertiary care facilities at Indus Hospital are complemented by community outreach programs focused on prevention and early detection of disease, encouraging community involvement and ownership.
About IRD:Interactive Research & Development is a Karachi-based non-profit company committed to saving lives through improvements in global health. IRD has a unique program in low-cost health technologies for developing countries, working with partners in East Africa, South Asia and Central America. IRD has collaborative research agreements with academic research institutions in North America and Europe, including the joint Innovations in International Health ( program with the D-Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
About the MIT Media Lab and the Next Billion Network:Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT Media Lab is an international leader in the development of innovative digital media and information technologies. Lab researchers foster a unique culture of learning by doing, developing technologies that empower people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all societies, to design and invent new possibilities for themselves and their communities. The Next Billion Network ( is a program at the MIT Media Lab whose goal is to enable and inspire innovation in the use of mobile technologies for, with, and by newly connected people around the developing world.

1 comment:

Aamir said...

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