Cellphones use help HIV/AIDS positive living in Kenya: a new study shows


Weltel will launch its preliminary results on 27th of this month (4pm to 5:30pm). The event will be held at The Holiday Inn, Westlands.

Weltel is an initiative to harness mobile telephones’ use by HIV/Aids patients to be reminded by nurses and doctors to take ARVs and thus help patients to best manage their own health in resource-limited settings.

The principal investigator and initiator of this study Dr.Richard Lester from Canada will announce the results.

The event will be conducted within the annual international collaboration meeting of university of Manitoba and Nairobi.

Reputable clinicians and scientists in HIV/Aids research from around the world will attend this meeting.

Weltel was conceived by clinicians and scientists working in HIV/AIDS care in Kenya, who noticed the impact mobile communications, had on the daily lives of people in the region.  The vast majority of the population in Africa went from no telephone access, to accessing the cutting-edge technology of mobile telephones to manage their personal and business lives.  We believe that mobile phone communications can strengthen health management and thus help save lives. 

Weltel has been studying the use of cell phones to improve health outcomes for People Living with HIV on ARVs.

Currently, we have been conducting a clinical trial that has been measuring the effectiveness of using SMS in improving patient adherence and response to highly-active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).  This has been operating at two sites in Nairobi and a site in Kajiado District.

The aim has been to assess if weekly text messages sent to patients on HAART will improve their adherence to ARV medication.

Data collection and cleaning has been ongoing for the past year and this conference will be an event set to disseminate preliminary study results.

However, preliminary data has shown that the intervention was popular with both patients receiving it and health care workers using it.

Our mission is to provide innovation in mobile phone communications to patients in resource-limited settings, guided by thorough evidence-based evaluation.

The ultimate wayfoward is to scale up this technology tool to be used in the whole country in partnership with government, corporates and other stakeholders.

This will ease burden of overstretched health systems and provide rapid access to healthcare as well as provide long life for PLHIV.

We will continue transitioning Weltel from research to action and hope to scale-up operations throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.

Journalists are invited to find more about use of cellphones in HIV/Aids management by patients.

(See a feature story on same issue: http://lookandgaze.blogspot.com/2009/11/cell-phones-saving-lives-in-kenya.html)

(Sarah Karanja, University of Manitoba/Kenya Aids Control Project)



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