Knock-on effects of the pandemic like illness and burnout have caused clinics and other care facilities to shut down worldwide. These challenges have been exacerbated by supply chain issues making personal protective equipment, oxygen, and donated blood harder to access, in some cases forcing clinics and other care facilities to shut down.
But where COVID-19 has created new pressures, it may also have revealed the way to a better future. In both low- and high-income countries, the pandemic has accelerated the rollout of tech-based solutions allowing providers to work remotely, safely and efficiently.
For example, the use of video conferencing can replace in-clinic screening. That can be combined with at-home monitoring of such areas as a baby’s height, weight and heart rate, as well as blood sugar levels and blood pressure. In remote locations, physicians can conference with specialists in maternal-fetal medicine, and after pregnancy, post-partum visits, lactation support and mental health care support can all be provided virtually.
E-learning and remote mentoring are also supporting health care provider education and capacity. Providers now have access to online tutorials and lectures that offer demonstrations of surgical techniques and procedures in real-time — and it is already making a difference.
Clinics in Tanzania are now using telementoring technology to complete C-section modules with a virtual checklist. Thanks to this approach, surgical site infection rates have dropped by 36% in less than six months. In Kenya, the use of teleconferencing has allowed remote participation in a C-section, including placing of clamps and sutures.
Results from these recently implemented programs are promising and we urge the global health community to focus its attention on collaborating to explore, innovate and standardize remote care approaches.
This content was originally published here.