Neglected diseases affect more than 1.4 billion people in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide. Many of these people live in remote rural areas, urban slums and conflict zones in Africa. Access to diagnosis and treatment services for these diseases is a challenge, particularly in areas with extreme poverty and poor infrastructure.

This could soon change, however. The EASE App - EASE here stands for Equal Access to Scientific Excellence - has been developed to boost the diagnosis of neglected diseases at the point of care in Africa.

The process will bypass the use of sophisticated and expensive laboratory instruments which are difficult to use in resource-poor settings.

The App will be rolled out by ANDI, the African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation, in collaboration with EASE-Medtrend Biotech based in China.

The project uses an Integrated Mobile Diagnostics Readout to deliver state-of-the-art diagnostics for multiple diseases, delivering results in a shorter time-frame and at a lower cost, a press release from ANDI says.

The Application is designed to perform different Point of Care and Rapid Diagnostics Tests (RDTs) for diseases that are prevalent in Africa. Field evaluation is scheduled to start in Ghana, Ethiopia and Nigeria within the next two months.

β€œWe are not re-inventing the basic principles of RDTs. Instead, we are making them more user-friendly, manageable and affordable using big data and cloud computing,” said Dr Peter Chun the CEO of EASE-Medtrend Biotech.

β€œThis leap-frogging approach to innovation in Africa is very promising. The mobile platform can be a game-changer for neglected diseases and other routine disease diagnosis in Africa. The platform can also be used for disease surveillance and drug resistance monitoring,” ANDI Executive Director Dr. Solomon Nwaka added.

Although most mobile applications in the medical field provide a platform for information exchange and consultation, they rarely venture into the diagnostics and testing field. The EASE App aims to be a substitute for bulky and sophisticated instruments, which have limited utility in rural communities of Africa.

The app and platform can also be scaled up and expanded to incorporate multiple tests, including routine laboratory diagnoses such as blood and urine analysis, as well as tests for a number of communicable and non-communicable diseases that affect millions in in Africa.

Cover Image by United Methodist News Service | Published by SciDev.Net Sub-Sahara

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