Orange Botswana has worked with the University of Botswana (UB) school of medicine to develop a specialised data plan that gives students and lecturers access to medical resources while they are far from the UB library.
Orange Botswana Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Philippe Baudin, said that through the mobile technologies, demand for health services is increasing in Africa and Botswana, in particular, as the population continues to grow rapidly, and as they undergo significant social and economic changes.
He also stated that it is driving an increase in the per-capita and total spending on healthcare and creating challenges for governments adding that mobile technologies have the potential to provide great benefit to both governments and the public.
“M-health can help provide people with expected health services. For instance, M-health services can help prevent and facilitate monitoring of chronic conditions, like diabetes, at a lower cost than other traditional medical care,” said Baudin.
He explained that M-health offers the convenience of remote interactions between patients and practitioners, and the ability to monitor patients continually in a non-intrusive way.
Baudin stated that the university had a simple request for medical students posted to different clinics and hospitals across the country as part of their training.
He added that they require access to medical journals and need to contact their lecturers during the time.
“This was achieved by developing a data bundle that is limited to browse specific medical websites. All the lecturers and students are grouped within a Closed User Group (CUG) which allows students to consult each other or their lecturers via mobile devices (voice and SMS) for free,” said Baudin.
Programme Director for Medical Education Partnership Initiative, Dr Oathokwa Nkomazana, said that with four clinical sites dispersed across Botswana, the school needed a solution that would enable out students and doctors to access information anytime and anywhere. She stated that they opted for a mobile solution that would leverage the wealth of digital learning and clinical resources already in existence at the UB Library on main campus.
“Additionally, such a solution needed to support collaborative learning and communication which are important values of the University of Botswana School of Medicine (UB SoM) problem-based learning (PBL) and community-based medical education curriculum” said Dr Nkomazana.
She explained that the mLearning Initiative is a School of Medicine Initiative through which faculty, residents, and students receive a 7” Samsung tablet loaded with a robust collection of medical applications, research databases, various Botswana healthcare guidelines and protocols.
Dr Nkomazana said each tablet comes with a data and closed-user group bundle that has been uniquely designed for the School of Medicine and highly subsidized by Orange Botswana.
She also stated that the data package allows users to access resources away from Wi-Fi areas, while the Closed User Group (CUG) enables them to call each other at no extra cost.
“This wireless access provided by Orange Botswana complements existing University infrastructure to provide seamless access to learning, teaching, and clinical resources,” she said.