Transformative Cell Phone Platform to Leap-Frog Disease Diagnosis in Africa


ANDI, the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, announced today that it has initiated the implementation of an integrated Cell Phone App (Application) to boost the diagnosis of neglected diseases at point of care in Africa, in collaboration with the Chinese EASE-Medtrend Biotech.

The project uses an Integrated Mobile Diagnostics Readout called the EASE App Technology, to attain state-of-the-art results for multiple diseases in less time and less cost. The platform will by-pass the use of sophisticated and expensive laboratory instruments which are difficult to use in resource poor settings. The Application is now being optimized to perform different Point of Care and Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs) for diseases that are prevalent in Africa. Field evaluation is scheduled to start in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria within the next two months.

The CEO of EASE-Medtrend Biotech, Dr Peter Chun said, “We can really make a difference especially in Africa where we want to place a lot of our efforts. We are not re-inventing RDTs basic principles— we are making them more user friendly, manageable and affordable with all that “Big Data” and “Cloud Computing” can do for it. “Remember that EASE stands for Equal Access to Scientific Excellence”, he added.
Most Mobile Applications in the medical field provide a platform for information exchange and consultation but do not replace hardware. The EASE App aims to replace bulky and sophisticated instruments which have limited utility in rural communities of Africa. It can also be scaled or expanded to incorporate multiple tests, including routine laboratory diagnoses such as blood and urine analyses as well as tests for a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases that are now common in Africa.

The Executive Director of ANDI, Dr Solomon Nwaka, said: “This leap-frogging approach to innovation in Africa is very promising. The mobile platform can be a game – changer for neglected diseases and other routine disease diagnosis in Africa….it can also support disease surveillance and drug resistance monitoring.” This initiative is part of a South-South collaboration supported by the World Health Organization and we are now engaging other stakeholders and donors on this project, he added.

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