According to an article posted on Mashable, technology has made it easier for Zambians to receive appropriate medical treatment, and even alert medical staff to potential disease outbreaks.
This is thanks to the SmartCare electronic health record system launched in 2010 by the Zambian Ministry of Health together with the US Center for Disease Control. It incorporates a connected nationwide medical database and the use of smart cards to track patients’ medical histories and treatments, which had previously been done with exercise books.
Patterns can be derived from the information it gathers, so if multiple people from the same general area are treated for the same disease within a short time-frame, it’s possible for the system to alert officials of a potential outbreak before it spirals out of control.
The SmartCare system makes use of portable computing devices like tablets and smartphones, which is very useful in areas where access to electricity and telecommunications infrastructure is unreliable. It doesn’t require extensive computer knowledge, either, and is thus very easy to operate.
The system is a boon to impoverished areas of Zambia, where unsanitary living conditions make the outbreak of serious diseases not only a major threat to the population, but a likely one as well.