At Mtenga Wa Ntenga, about 40 km from Lilongwe in Malawi, the sixth telemedicine center of the Global Health Telemedicine, a reality from the DREAM program of the Community of Sant'Egidio, was opened. A complete workstation of teleconsultation with electrocardiograph, oximeter, HD webcam and instrumentation for acquisition of Rx was delivered to the DREAM center of Mtenga Wa Ntenga.
The inauguration was attended by the Director of the National HIV programs, Dr. Frank Chimbwandira, and the Director of the DREAM program in Malawi, Elard Allumando.
The service was activated not only for DREAM patients but also for the patients of the hospital, who will benefit from multi-specialized teleconsultation.
The new software installed in Mtenga allows not only being able to request advice from cardiologists through teleconsultation but also from dermatologists, radiologists, internists, infectious disease specialists and angiologists. It is a concrete and immediate way to get an accurate diagnosis and therapeutic advice when the local health operators have doubts or when they simply need to be comforted with regards to their therapeutic conduct. The implemented system is the realization of a new type of health cooperation, with high-impact and low costs where it is information that travels instead of patients and doctors: electrocardiograms, plates, photographs, graphics, arterial oxygen saturation (the examination that monitors blood oxygenation), images of the palate or pharynx may be attached to the patient's clinical information and thus be a valuable aid for an accurate diagnostic orientation. Consulting the DREAM database, the new software allows sending, in a single click, the ongoing therapy as well as the last blood tests and the vital signs of the last 5 visits. An amount of data that the reporting physician may consult to obtain information about a clinical case. It is important to remember that the center has solar power supply thanks to a program funded by Total that provides electricity not only to the DREAM program and to the laboratory but, from today, also to telemedicine. It is the very best of technology made available to the remotest areas.
The interest in this new form of health cooperation is very high and the representative of the Ministry of Health of Malawi has expressed a desire to disseminate such telemedicine services in other health centers in the country.
Global Health Telemedicine has a team of about twenty Italian doctors who provide their professionalism free of charge and co-operate actively responding to dozens of teleconsultations. In addition to the clinical work there is a quieter but equally fundamental work carried out by a dozen technicians who provide their services free of charge for professional development, maintenance and study of the implementation of new biomedical devices to equip the centers with new technologies. A righteous thank you is due to the professionalism offered by clinicians and technicians: without their help Global Health Telemedicine would not be possible.
To date there are 6 active telemedicine centers, three in Tanzania, two in Mozambique and now one in Malawi; the latter will be the forerunner to other Malawian centers. To date, nearly 800 teleconsultations have been registered.
A special thanks goes to the Roman non-profit organization "Nico i frutti del Chicco" which for years has actively supported a mission of the Padri Regolari Lateranensi a Safà, in the Central African Republic. Hoping to install as soon as possible a telemedicine center also in their mission, the non-profit organization has decided to fully support the Malawian center of Mtenga Wa Ntenga.
Global Health Telemedicine dreams to install specialized teleconsultation services in all DREAM centers but has also received requests for cooperation in other African countries such as Cameroon, Togo and Central Africa.