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Amref Health Africa Partners with IT Firm ASIL to Scale up Availability of Blood Supply in Kenyan Hospitals

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Nairobi… Amref Health Africa and technology solutions firm Advanced IT Solutions (AISL) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to scale up blood availability in hospitals through a Blood Services Information Management System dubbed Damu – Sasa.

The solution is an innovation that came out of the Presidential Digital Talent Programme (PDTP) launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2015.

Damu – Sasa was developed to maintain up to date information in the blood services value chain. This includes maintaining an accurate donor databank through which timely donation appeals can be made during emergencies, ensuring real-time observation of blood level fluctuations and improving their real-time reporting.

In addition, through information sharing, Damu – Sasa enables collaboration among players in the blood services ecosystem thus making blood services management more efficient and effective.

Through this partnership, that will help advance the universal health coverage agenda through access to blood supply, Amref Health Africa will provide support to AISL through marketing the technology solution, development of health-related content, promote associated advocacy and offer other technical support. AISL in turn will focus on rolling out the Damu – Sasa solution, supporting clients and enhancing the solution.

Amref Health Africa’s Programme Director for Health Systems Strengthening, Dr Elizabeth Wala said that most hospitals do not have enough blood in their banks and many people die while waiting to receive blood. The situation can be calamitous in case of accidents and other emergencies. She added that the technology would improve the situation through ensuring blood banks have accurate data that would improve effective use of blood as well as help with targeted donor appeals.

“Sourcing, distribution and management of blood services presents various challenges in the country such as unforeseen blood shortfalls; ad-hoc blood appeals during emergencies; limited real-time reporting; limited real-time blood traceability and hampered collaboration between transfusing facilities. This partnership will make use of a home-grown and innovative solution that will ensure that patients have a chance of accessing blood in times of need,” said Dr Wala.

The Damu – Sasa solution has already been successfully piloted at the Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH) over a period of nine months which was commenced in May 2017. The feedback from users have been very positive with the wish to have the system deployed in the hospital and adopted by others in the blood services ecosystem.

AISL Director, Mr Ochieng’ Ogunde said that in most cases, the management of blood services presents a number of challenges to health establishments and that this can be improved through a proper tracking system that captures up to date information.

“Inefficiencies and inaccuracies in sourcing, tracking and dispensing blood has always been the main challenge for health establishments in Kenya and in most parts of Africa. In most instances it is the patients that bear the burden of these challenges, often having to mobilize blood from family and friends. Damu – Sasa will close this gap by providing a simple solution that links up all the stakeholders in blood donation and delivery service seamlessly,” said Ogunde. He added that information from Damu – Sasa can help with forecasting and make managing the service more proactive.

According to Kenya National Blood Transfusion Services (KNBTS), Kenya needs an estimated   400,000 units of blood annually to cater for various medical needs yet it currently records a shortfall of about 250,000 units every year. As the nation seeks to attain universal health coverage for all citizens by 2022, there is a great need to incorporate technology to catalyse this process. One such area is in management of blood services where demonstrated technology assures improvement in the efficiency, safety and effectiveness of blood services management.

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NGOs - SDGs

Kudoti, South African Recycling Platform recognised as one of the global winners of the Nestlé’s 2021 Creating Shared Value Prize

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Kudoti Co-Founder, Matthieu de Gaudemar (Image: Medium)

Kudoti, South African recycling company, was announced in the top five winners of Nestlé 2021 Creating Shared Value (CSV) Prize, for their innovative recycling impact through technology.

The CSV Prize has been running for over 10 years and has identified multiple initiatives for some of today’s most critical environmental and social issues around the world. This year’s competition, conducted in partnership with the non-profit organization, Ashoka, was entitled ‘How do we create a waste-free future?’,  It aimed to identify and award innovative solutions with a system-change approach and a strong growth potential, or a replicable model for other social, cultural or geographical settings.

Kudoti (meaning trash in Zulu) is changing business perspectives of waste into recovered materials through supply chain solutions.  The company’s digital approach helps track recyclable waste in real-time and matching it to demand. The use of technology improves market conditions for waste materials, which drives up recycling behaviour.

Matthieu de Gaudemar, one of the founders of Johannesburg-based Kudoti, expressed gratitude to Nestlé and Ashoka for this CSV initiative. “Businesses and individuals have a concept of waste as waste, when we should have a concept of waste as a resource.  With new business models, we can change the way that waste is viewed.”

De Gaudemar adds that their platform’s success was collective team effort. “It truly takes everyone to address systemic environmental issues. Through this financial investment and technical resources, we will amplify our impact by scaling up our solution in South Africa.”

“When people speak of the future, a world of hover crafts or holograSaint-Francis Tohlangms may come to mind. But at Nestlé, we are seeking a more environmentally futuristic landscape. Through these  Awards, we are on a mission to identify and empower market disruptors in the hope of accelerating a waste-free future”, says Saint-Francis Tohlang, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs Director at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR).

As one of the winners, Kudoti will receive a cash prize of $40 000 and will benefit from Ashoka’s online resources and workshops to explore potential collaboration with Nestlé and a mentoring programme.

“Innovations such as Kudoti not only help reduce waste but also drive consumer behaviour change which is key to achieving a waste free future and takes us closer to a circular economy”, concluded Tohlang.

By Weber Shandwick

 

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Doing Good Work in Africa Marks Its First Anniversary of Supporting Students and Impacting Future Growth in Africa

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Doing Good Work in Africa (DOWA), a non-profit initiative designed to connect students in the United States to African-based entities focused on providing scalable solutions to commonplace challenges, celebrated its first anniversary in April. Launched during the COVID-19 pandemic, friends Ola Erogbogbo and Emiola Abass, co-founded a program that generated 400 applications and placed ten students at three partner companies within two months. In just one year, DOWA placed 27 students and conducted seven educational webinars with over 400 attendees from over 17 countries.

“DOWA seeks to provide a path to ‘brain gain’ by attracting US students (African and non-African) to the continent through internships. The premise is that the solution to Africa’s problems must come from within, supported by human and capital investments across the globe.” said Erogbogbo.

DOWA connects students with internship opportunities allowing them to work on socio-economic projects and experience the African culture and corporate environment. Students can take advantage of this unique experience through grants and scholarships funded by some universities. Matching the students with partner companies is accomplished through a rigorous application process, provided at no cost to the students. DOWA’s partner companies and organizations address challenges in healthcare, education, agriculture and champion growth initiatives in technology, artificial intelligence, and power generation in Africa.

“We are proud of our partnership with DOWA – we had two interns work on geospatial AI-powered education technology in low resourced environments. These engaged students’ contributions will help further our goal to raise one million AI talents” said Bayo Adekanmbi, Founder at Data Science Nigeria.

Liam Casey, a Venture Capital Fellow at Funema, said, “My experience has helped narrow down career goals and interests in impact investment and venture capital for emerging markets.”

DOWA is intentional in partnering with organizations that have a shared mission to work on initiatives that further the advancement of Africa. Erogbogbo further said, “DOWA believes that the challenges we face on the continent present opportunities, and thus, connecting students to companies working to address these challenges can result in more effective solutions.”

DOWA was launched with the help of founding supporters that include Scholars in Our Society and Africa (SOSA) at Cornell University and Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM). With over 300% participation growth and thanks to its growing network of partner companies, DOWA for the 2021/2022 internship cycles is projected to provide internship opportunities to 70 students from over 20 schools, including five Ivy League colleges.

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GSMA Report Reveals The Gender Gap In Mobile Internet Use Is Shrinking, Despite The COVID-19 Pandemic

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GSMA Report: An estimated 112 million more women started using mobile internet last year across low- and middle-income countries, despite the onset of COVID-19, according to the fourth annual GSMA Mobile Gender Gap Report published today.

Nevertheless, 234 million fewer women than men access mobile internet. Moreover, the underlying gender gap in mobile ownership persists and is proving difficult to close.

Affordability, lack of literacy and digital skills, and lower awareness of mobile internet are critical and common barriers for women. Structural inequalities in society and discriminative social norms also remain a challenge. Even when women have the same levels of education, income, literacy, and employment as men, they are still less likely to own a mobile phone or use mobile internet.

The report further revealed that a record number of women in South Asia now use mobile internet services, helping shrink the gender gap to 15% from 19% last year in low- and middle-income countries.

The gains in South Asia, which had the most significant gender gap in 2019 with women 50% less likely than men to use mobile internet, masked the stagnation in other regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa. Women in both regions now face a similar gender gap in mobile internet use – 37% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 36% in South Asia.

Women were more likely than men to access the internet exclusively via mobile in almost all markets surveyed. In Kenya, for example, 63% of male internet users said they only used the internet via a mobile device compared to 79% of females. This reliance by women on mobile demonstrates the disproportionate benefit of increasing their access.

“If women are to become equal citizens in a more digital, post-COVID world, closing the mobile gender gap has never been more critical,” said Mats Granryd, Director General, of the GSMA. “I urge policymakers, the private sector and the international community to take note of the important findings laid out in the Mobile Gender Gap Report because only concerted action and collaboration will enable women and their families to reap the full benefits of connectivity.”

The GSMA introduced the Connected Women Commitment Initiative in 2016 to catalyse action to close the mobile gender gap. Mobile operators continued to make commitments during 2020, with 40 mobile operators across Africa, Asia and Latin America making formal commitments to accelerate digital and financial inclusion for women since 2016. These operators have already reached more than 40 million additional women with mobile internet or mobile money services.

The GSMA’s Mobile Gender Gap Report 2021 is available at: https://www.gsma.com/r/gender-gap/ 

Further information on the Connected Women Commitment Initiative can be found at: https://www.gsma.com/mobilefordevelopment/connected-women/the-commitment/

 

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