Noma - help4Africa

4myHealth in Afrika – ein Erfahrungsbericht

Als Unternehmen ist man immer stolz: auf seine Mitarbeiter, seine Kunden, seine Partner, seine erreichten Ziele, etc. Aber manchmal kommt einem die Gänsehaut hoch – nämlich dann, wenn man einen diese Zeilen lesen darf:

At Hilfsaktion Noma, our mission is to eradicate noma, a disease that mainly affects children in the African Sahel and leads to major facial defects if it’s not treated in time. It’s still unclear what causes noma, but malnutrition, bad hygiene and illnesses that affect the immune system all seem to play a contribution role.

While a major focus of our work is to prevent the disease in the first place, we’re also helping those already affected by providing them with reconstructive surgery. As the surgeries are extremely complicated, we’re grateful that we have several specialist surgeons from Europe, who regularly travel to our hospitals in Niger and Guinea Bissau for interventions.

Communication between the European teams and our African colleagues about patients has been a big headache for us. Without a proper online data base, patient files had to be sent back and forth via e-mail, resulting in numerous copies and making the preparation and planning of surgeries extremely difficult.

4myhealth’s offer to set up a database for us thus helped tremendously: „The 4myhealth system at the noma clinic in Niamey now makes the online-documentation of each single step in the medical treatment and pre- and postoperative process possible“, says Dr. Harald Kubiena, a plastic surgeon from Vienna, who has been heading surgical missions to Niger and Bissau for several years. „It’s an online bridge for quick, safe and easy exchange of patient related information. It has become a fundamental part also in the process of far-distance assisted autonomization of the medical teams at the clinic.“

The medical director of our clinic in Niger echoes this: „The system is very convenient for creating individual records for each patient,“ says Dr. Issa Ousmane Hamady. „It allows us to have several good quality images in each folder. This facilitates the follow-up of the patients. We can more easily highlight statistics on the care of our patients and it allows us to create folders for each event, and share them. But the main change is the fact of being able to easily share the information and images of patients with all of our collaborators wherever they are at any time. Thus, we can consult and plan remote interventions. From every point of view, the use of 4myhealth has really improved the treatment of our patients‘ files, and the organization of our activities with our various collaborators.“

Dr. Issa and Dr. Kubiena are currently the main users of the system, but we’re currently expanding it to Guinea Bissau and also plan to include other information, such as social assistance plans for patients, in the files. We’re extremely grateful for this custom-made support as it allows us to use donations for our core work – helping children – rather than spending it on software that’s nevertheless essential for our work.

Mathis Winkler, head of project, Hilfsaktion Noma