HARARE - From smart contact lenses to remote medication monitoring, patients across the world are benefiting from advances in wireless technology.
According to the International Diabetics Federation, over 1,4 million Zimbabweans are suffering from diabetes.
Measuring their glucose levels with special equipment can be invasive, painful and inconvenient.
Fortunately, advances in wireless technology are bringing relief to diabetics as well as Zimbabweans diagnosed with other diseases, as part of a growing revolution in healthcare innovation.
International technology firm, Cumii Health (Cumii), is working in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Diabetic Association (ZDA) to introduce a dual blood sugar and blood pressure monitor which automatically sends information to doctors.
The new technology connects the patient to the doctor and means that the patient’s diabetes and high blood pressure can be monitored more frequently.
“A recent study showed that introducing these devices improved outcomes for patients. We need to bring this to the people of Zimbabwe so that lives can be saved and diabetic people can receive the care they need at a cost they can afford,” ZDA president John Mangwiro said.
Diabetes — a medical condition in which a person has high blood sugar or blood glucose — is a growing problem in the African region and it is estimated that eight percent of sub-Saharan Africans above 25 years of age have the condition.
Diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce and or use insulin, a hormone that regulates the body’s metabolism.
There are two types of diabetes — Type I and Type 2.
According to ZDA, one in 10 people in Zimbabwe have diabetes, which is characterised by dry mouth and extreme thirst, a constant need to urinate, especially at night, and unexplained and un-intentional weight loss, and many of them are not even aware of the problem until they become very ill.
Last year alone, 209 800 cases of diabetes were recorded in the country, resulting in the death of 6 956 patients.
Medical experts say diabetes must be taken seriously because it can cause various serious complications including, strokes, blindness and gangrene of the feet leading to amputation, sexual impotence and kidney failure.
Diabetes remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide, according to the World Health Organisation.
People diagnosed with diabetes can live long and healthy lives if the condition is managed properly.
Sadly, people with diabetes are often unaware of their condition and do not seek proper treatment and care.
This device can also be used to screen other family members who may be at risk of diabetes and hypertension.
This information can then be sent to family doctors who can help, counsel and manage the newly-diagnosed.
Some people know their condition but do not seek the necessary medical treatment due to busy schedules, costs or distance from the clinic.
Fortunately, technological innovations now enable a person with diabetes to regularly test their blood sugar and also be monitored by their doctor who can even be located in another town.
South Africa-based Cumii places the latest technology at its customers’ disposal to monitor, control and manage diabetes and blood pressure of patients across the continent.
The company has built a network of healthcare practitioners, mobile operators and healthcare insurers across Africa to improve life for people living with these conditions.