Here’s an example of African innovation at its finest.
Arthur Zang, a 24 year-old Cameroonian engineer, has invented the Cardiopad, a touch screen medical tablet that enables heart examinations such as the electrocardiogram (ECG) to be performed at remote, rural locations while the results of the test are transferred wirelessly to specialists who can interpret them. The device spares African patients living in remote areas the trouble of having to travel to urban centers to seek medical examinations.
According to Zang, the Cardiopad is “the first fully touch screen medical tablet made in Cameroon and in Africa.” He believes it is an invention that could save numerous human lives, and says the reliability of the pad device is as high as 97.5%. Zang says he invented the device in order to facilitate the treatment of patients with heart disease across Cameroon and the rest of Africa. So far, several medical tests have been carried out with the Cardiopad which have been validated by the Cameroonian scientific community.
According to Radio Netherlands, which broke the story of the Cardiopad earlier this week,
“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.”
According to Zang, “software built into the device allows the doctor to give computer assisted diagnosis.”
Cameroon, a Central African country with a population of some 20 million people, lays claim to only 30 heart surgeons. To make matters worse, these heart surgeons are mainly concentrated in Douala or Yaoundé, the country’s two most important economic hubs. This severe deficit of medical personnel means that patients with heart ailments usually have to travel long distances to undergo heart examinations and consult with doctors. Even at that, it is still not easy. On some occasions, patients must make appointments months in advance, and some even die in the process of waiting for their appointment.
Zang believes his invention will cut down the cost of heart examinations. The Cardiopad is already generating a lot of interest in African tech and medical circles. The inventor is currently looking for venture capital to commercially produce the device.