Application of information and communication technologies for diabetes management in Africa

Kahindo FURAHA,
Henri TAKENGA and
Rolf-Dietrich BERNDT

Like all chronic diseases, the incidence of diabetes is increasing in Africa. Urban development is generating inactivity and dietary changes that facilitate the emergence of obesity and type-2 diabetes. Improving accessibility of the African population to diabetes care seems to be a big challenge in most of African countries where the number of care centers and qualified staff are limited. Innovations in the information and communication technologies (ICT) have great potential to address some of these challenges faced by several countries in providing accessible, cost-effective, and high-quality health care services. This trial presents a new approach in diabetes management, a telemedical solution Mobil Diab for diabetic patients and staff of medical experts. The application is conceived to assist patients daily manage their disease. The idea of the system is to involve patients in the therapy process and motivate them for an active participation. An analysis tool is integrated and alert automatically the medical staff in case of emergency. To validate the system in African context, a trial was conducted in two eastern cities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (Goma and Butembo). Results of the trial are presented in this paper and show satisfaction from both patients and medical staff sides. A two month use of Mobil Diab resulted in the improvement of clinical outcome through a decrease of the HbA1c on 1.78%. The trial showed also the interest of the users for the system whereby, more than 86% would like to keep the system for managing their disease.