Cameroon: The Cardiopad - an African Invention to Save Lives
A young Cameroonian engineer has built the first fully touch screen medical tablet that could soon save many African lives. He first has to find the necessary funding to mass-produce the device.
In a country that has only 30 heart surgeons for more than 20 million people, the dream of Arthur Zang, a 24-year-old Cameroonian engineer, is to facilitate the treatment of patients with a heart disease across Cameroon.
In 2010, he created a digital tablet known as Cardiopad: "It's the first fully touch screen medical tablet made in Cameroon and in Africa. It's an invention that could save numerous human lives", explains Arthur Zang.
In fact, Cameroon's thirty heart specialists are all based in either Douala or Yaoundé, the country's economic and political capitals. Heart patients often have to travel across the country for a consultation.
The Cardiopad solves this problem by enabling medical examinations to be performed remotely and the results transmitted electronically, saving patients the hassle of having to travel to the city.
In practice, the Cardiopad is a device that can perform tests such as the electrocardiogram (ECG). The medical tablet also makes it possible to wirelessly send the results of the tests from remote locations to the specialist who will then interpret them.
"The tablet is used as a classical electrocardiograph device: electrodes are placed on the patient and connected to a module that, in turn, connects to the tablet. When a medical examination is performed on a patient in a remote village, for example, the results are transmitted from the nurse's tablet to that of the doctor who then interprets them.
Software built into the device allow the doctor to give computer assisted diagnosis", explains the young engineer.
It wasn't possible to send or save the results electronically. With the Cardiopad, the results are digitalised and transmitted. There is no need to print them, the heart surgeon can interpret them, even remotely, from his tablet and then send the diagnosis and prescribed treatment"
"The Cardiopad will cut down the cost of examination. We intend to sell the device for 1500 euros, while the current price for an electrocardiograph device is 3800 euros. If hospitals purchase the device at a low price, they will be able to lower the prices of medical examinations", Arthur Zang hopes.
However, there is still the issue of energy, as many of the country's remote regions do not have access to electricity. "The Cardiopad is equipped with a battery that can independently power the machine for more than seven hours", the engineer assures.