The M-PESA Foundation in partnership with Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital and Gertrude’s Hospital Foundation have unveiled another phase of the Daktari Smart initiative. The initiative, which is a telemedicine program, aims to reach and treat at least 32,400 children in five counties.

Since its launch in 2021, the Daktari Smart initiative has reached 10,000 children with specialised paediatric medical care. The programme is providing services in Narok, Samburu, Baringo, Homa Bay, and Lamu counties.

In the next five years, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital, and its Foundation targets to impact 5 million children in the region. Approximately 45,000 children who are suffering from rare and complex non-communicable diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases are set to benefit.

Speaking during the commemoration of World Health Day, Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital CEO, Dr. Robert Nyarango noted, “The Daktari Smart programme has so far been implemented in 5 counties, allowing 10,000 children to access specialised paediatric care that they would otherwise never have received. There is an opportunity to serve more children through working together as stakeholders to increase the number of counties on Daktari Smart to support the limited number of paediatricians and other specialists.”

This year’s World Health Day theme, My Health, My Right, calls for consideration of health as a human right to which everyone should have access. As part of the campaign, the WHO recommends increasing accessibility to healthcare services.

Dr. Patrick Amoth, Ag. Director General for Health, Ministry of Health, emphasised the role that technology will play in improving healthcare access promising policy support to telemedicine and other health technology initiatives. “The power of telemedicine is amazing because it can help reach people in underserved communities with health services. We are now in the process of developing regulations to operationalise e-health, m-health, and telemedicine with careful consideration of our laws and data protection and confidentiality.”

The Daktari Smart telemedicine kit comprises electronic medical devices. These include an electronic stethoscope, vital signs monitor, derma scope camera, ultrasound machine, inner ear observing otoscope, and ECG to check heart rhythm and electrical activity. Unlike conventional video conferencing, the kit allows healthcare workers at the local partner facilities to place the devices on the patient, allowing specialist doctors at Gertrude’s Children’s Hospital to make a diagnosis.