Fondation Pierre Fabre

CerviScan, an innovative digital microscope, a telemedicine platform and a cloud storage platform

Main beneficiary country:
Cameroon

About the sponsor

GIC Med

GIC Med is a social venture that creates simple, cost-effective eHealth and Telemedicine Innovations, enabling poor, remote and rural communities with the greatest need to enjoy affordable and accessible healthcare.

Sector: Industrial: Startups, enterprises, etc.

Country of origin: Cameroon

The organisation has:

6
Full-Time Equivalents
6
Employees
10
Volunteers
0
Service provider

Initiative overview

Healthcare themes targeted

  • Cancer

Stage of development:

  • Pilot project/testing/trials

Area where initiative is utilised

  • National (in one country only)

Initiative start date

  • 09/02/2016

Financing

Financing method

  • Public (grant/subsidies, call for proposals/call for tender, etc.)

Economic model(s)

  • Income generated by beneficiaries
  • Revenue generated by the beneficiaries/healthcare facilities

About the initiative

Our project targets breast and cervical cancers which are the leading causes of cancer related morbidity and mortality in sub-Saharan Africa where they accounted for 45.4% of new cases of cancers among women in 2012 In Cameroon, the contribution of breast and cervical cancers to the national burden of cancer is very high since more than four decades. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, Breast Cancer has the highest incidence among Cameroonian women with an Age- Standardized Ratio of 2,625 new cases per 100,000 women per year, thus accounting for 31.5% of all cancers in women. Cancer of the cervix ranks second among Cameroonian women with an Age- Standardized Ratio of 1,993 new cases per 100,000 women per year, representing 23.9% of all new cases of cancers in women. Close to 95% of patients with cancer in Cameroon are diagnosed with late- to end-stage disease, when treatment options are few and prognosis is poor. Screening techniques such as Mammography are centralised making them almost inaccessible for the rural, peri-urban and some of the Urban population; and it’s cost can prove to be a huge barrier to its accessibility for the rural population especially Pathological diagnosis is also a big burden in our context owing to the Limited number of Pathologists and Pathology Laboratories, with only 5 laboratories present nationally.

- This project permits a secure electronic record and storage of patient infomation and medical history. - Our simple and efficient Telemedicine platform permits healthcare providers in rural settings to share patient information and images, interact and discuss with higher level specialists in urban areas, which is very helpful in upgrading knowledge and skills of personnel in rural areas. - It equally enables remote diagnosis for patients in remote areas by specialists in urban areas for breast and cervical cancer in real time. These specialists who are only currently available in urban cities, far from the rural population. - It equally guarantees secure channel for referring patients and patient tracking in real time using mobile technology, therefore reinforcing the currently weak patient referral and tracking system. - Enables gathering of reliable data for future assessment for public health utility, planning and policy drafting, data which was previously unreliable and absent in most cases. - The platform is very valuable to share data and get second opinions in difficult cases, especially for pathological diagnosis. - Its valuable role for educational purposes cannot be underestimated where digital files could easily be accessed to better train medical nurses, medical students, doctors and residents. - This innovation is very beneficial in reducing time normally needed for samples to be received and analyzed by pathologists. The time and cost burden incurred when samples have to be collected, conserved and forwarded to other towns for pathologists to analyze is completely cut off.

This project comprises the following arms: a Smartphone mobile app called CerviScan, an innovative digital microscope, a telemedicine platform and a cloud storage platform. It permits the remote diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers for patients’ located in rural and enclave areas, by specialists in urban cities. The Smartphone app and Telemedicine platform permits images and short videos to be captured and forwarded to a specialist for remote and instant diagnosis. The digital microscope which can be connected to a Smartphone permits prepared pathology slides of suspected breast lumps to be scanned and sent instantly to pathologists for analysis and diagnosis. It is very portable, and it doesn’t require any direct source of electricity to function, thus very adapted to rural areas. The Cloud storage system permits a secure storage of data, which can be accessed anywhere.

Process for Cervical Cancer Screening - Using a smartphone, a woman’s data is collected through CerviScan app and Telemedicine platform by a trained nurse in a rural area. Next, images and short videos of the woman’s cervix are then captured in the app after treating with two reagents (acetic acid and Lugol’s iodine solution). Thereafter, these data is instantly uploaded to the GIC Med cloud platform which is accessed and viewed by a higher medical specialist in real time, who reviews the data and confirms diagnosis of any precancerous or cancerous lesion.

Process for Breast Cancer Screening : After being trained, a nurse or midwife initiates the screening process by first of all performing a clinical breast exam on a woman who comes for screening. In case a lesion is detected, a needle aspirate is done on the lesion, and the sample collected is used to prepare a pathology slide using simple and appropriate techniques adapted in rural areas. The slide is then placed under the digital microscope, and then images and short videos of the sample are captured through the digital microscope and forwarded to a pathologist through the Telemedicine platform. The pathologist analyses all data and images in real time, and then sends back results through the same secure telemedicine channel, confirming any diagnosis for a cancerous lesion.

Geolocalising and Treating Positive Cases : Positive cancer cases in a given health area can thereafter be geo-located through the GIC Med platform and regrouped for treatment by a mobile treatment unit, or tracked down to the nearest treatment facility using the GIC Med platform.

Field report of the initiative

Fields of application:

Health professional training - Telemedicine (remote diagnosis and consultations) - Patient monitoring and medical data

Target audience

  • Healthcare professionals and structures (hospitals, healthcare centres/clinics, health networks)
  • Entire population

Initiative objectives

  • Decreased mortality
  • Decreased morbidity
  • Reduced suffering
  • Improved treatment

Key figures

2630 Number of beneficiaries since launch

200 Number of users per Month

Materials used

  • Smartphone
  • Tablet
  • Computer

Technologies used

  • Mobile telecommunications (without data connection)
  • Internet
  • Geolocation
  • Mobile app (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, HTML5, etc.)

Offline use

Yes

Open Source

No

Open Data

No

Independent evaluation

No

Partners

Collaborators

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