Microsoft4Afrika Collaborate For Tanzanian Children’s Hearts

International Israeli-based NPO sets a positive pulse for children’s cardiac care in Tanzania

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Staff at the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute in Tanzania pose for a group photo

Save A Child’s Heart (SACH), the Jakaya Kikwete Cardiac Institute (JKCI), and the Wolfson Medical Centre, have partnered with Microsoft through its 4Africa Initiative to digitise and innovative a health services delivery model for SACH operations in Tanzania going forward.

The partnership will provide solutions that will enable better collaboration, facilitate remote work while making information accessible for healthcare workers, patients, and citizens, and innovating the entire healthcare system in the country.

“Once implemented, this innovative approach will allow us to help deliver more precise diagnoses and will help to limit the number of children needing to fly to Israel for treatment. On the social side, there are also the added benefits for the children at JKCI, who will be able to enjoy the comforts of familiar surroundings and family networks in their home country,” says Dr Lior Sasson from the Wolfson Medical Centre.

Through remote participation via Microsoft Teams collaboration tools including video call, document collaboration and the security of data, the teams envision Israeli surgeons being able to collaborate remotely and in real-time with surgeons at the JKCI, having access to a full suite of cutting-edge technology solutions at their fingertips during surgeries.

Microsoft Israel has been working closely with the entire healthcare industry to provide new cloud-based solutions to meet the hospitals and HMO’s specific needs, with activities including everything from collaboration to Data, Machine Learning, and AI solutions.

In Tanzania, the organisation has deployed two main modes of operation to support the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of children who are admitted to the JKCI. After diagnosis at the Institute, selected children and their caregivers are flown to the Wolfson Medical Centre in Israel for final diagnosis and subsequent surgery.

In these cases, the Medical Centre’s Legacy Heritage Children’s Home, a fifteen-minute drive from the Centre, provides both counsel and accommodation to the children, escort nurse, and their caregivers during this time.

“As Microsoft, we are encouraged by the collaboration and drive shown by the Wolfson Medical Centre and the Jakaya Kikwete Medical Institute in the area of pediatric cardiac treatment,” said Gustavo Raiter, Business Development Lead, Microsoft 4Afrika. “Being part of their digital transformation journey is a real privilege, and we are confident that their efforts will serve as a template for similar partnerships in other countries, paving the way for innovation that drives collective action.”

Congenital heart disease (CHD) is an enormous problem in low and middle-income countries, and particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where children who are afflicted may struggle to receive the proper treatment. The journal Frontiers in Pediatrics reports that there is an estimated 500,000 children born in Africa with CHD each year, with a major proportion in sub-Saharan Africa.

Rheumatic heart disease (RHD) is the leading cause of acquired heart disease and is an ongoing concern in sub-Saharan Africa, affecting especially the younger population. Proper treatment is essential to improve the outcomes for these children, as both conditions contribute substantially to morbidity and mortality during infanthood and childhood. However, treatment for conditions like CHD and RHD can be prohibitively expensive for families without governmental or humanitarian organisations being involved.

With a footprint spanning over 60 countries across the Middle East and Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and America’s, Save a Child’s Heart (SACH) has treated more than 5,000 children for congenital and rheumatic heart disease.

“Our surgeons are in constant contact with our Israeli counterparts for consulting, coaching and mentorship. We are excited that this partnership with SACH and Microsoft will allow more precise diagnosis using remote, real-time digital collaboration tools that will immensely benefit the children in our care. We are stepping boldly into medical collaboration in the digital era, and we look forward to being at the leading edge of this innovation,” Prof. Mohamed Janabi Executive Director of JKCI.

Founded by Dr Ami Cohen in 1995 at the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, Israel, SACH aims to improve the quality of pediatric cardiac care for all children; creating local centres of competence in developing countries. Working with JKCI in Tanzania, this Israeli non-profit organisation is reaching new frontiers in the treatment and care of children across the country.

Microsoft Israel team has worked closely with the Wolfson Medical Centre to deploy the solution, implement security capabilities, and provide technical guidance.

 

 

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