In Nigeria alone, an estimated 154,000 people die each year from Tuberculosis (TB), thus giving the country a top position on the list of high TB-burden countries. Stemming the spread of this disease has remained a herculean task for health practitioners and major stakeholders. This is mainly as a result of the government’s insensitivity towards infrastructural development in the sector.
Every year, an estimated 407,000 people in Nigeria have TB, a figure that has continued to rise in the last few years and as such requires an urgent solution.
In addressing the dangers and threats posed by this deadly disease, a collaborative effort between Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) and Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) has led to the launch of NimCure, a digital patient care tool to promote adherence to treatment of tuberculosis. It is imperative that proactive measures are intiated to curb the numerous after-effects of the disease on victims. The launch, which was held at the NIMR complex in Yaba was attended by key stakeholders in the public and private health sector.
The NimCure app is a digital patient care tool used to promote adherence to treatment by TB patients. Using the NimCure app, patients are paired with caregivers who support and manage their treatment remotely. Moreso, the app innovates around the current method of treatment, Direct Observe Therapy (DOT) by the use of vDOT (video Direct Observe Therapy). With NimCure, patients are able to record short videos to log their daily dosage. The medical trial will commence this week with 30 patients and 6 caregivers.
Furthermore, the app enables patients to track treatment progress, receive key notifications and reminders as well as contact their caregivers. Caregivers, through the NimCure Care app, are able to monitor patient treatment including assessing video submissions, manage patient treatment progress and contact them directly.
Currently, Nigeria is ranked 7th amongst the high TB burden countries globally and second amongst high TB-burden countries in Africa.
Furthermore, Multi-Drug Resistant-TB is a major public health threat in Nigeria and a leading cause of death in HIV infection. While TB is curable, very little progress has been attained in mitigating its spread. There have been several challenges and gaps that exist in the current system of managing treatment, which is lengthy and cumbersome.
In line with the vision of NIMR to be an institution of excellence in basic, applied and operational research for the promotion of national health and development in Nigeria, NimCure app is one of the few digital innovations in the Nigerian health sector. With support from Samsung, CcHUB is providing mobile phones to patients and caregivers for the duration of the pilot. The devices will also come equipped with sim cards and data plans.
The Nigerian Institute of Medical Research which was established through the National Science and Technology Act of 1977. Since it was created, NIMR has conducted research into health problems in Nigeria with a focus on diseases of greatest public health importance in the country. Co-Creation Hub is an innovation center dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity.
As Nigeria’s premier living lab, CcHUB is designed as space where work to catalyze creative tech ventures take place. The hub is Nigeria’s first open living lab for technologists, entrepreneurs, tech companies, investors and hackers in and around Lagos. Since inception, CcHUB’s work is delivered through 6 thematic practices: Education, Fintech, Digital Security, Smart Health & Well-being and Govlab.