digital technologies

A patient is reviewed by a medical officer at Mukuyuni Sub-County Hospital, Kenya. Photo credit: Urbanus Musyoki

In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, it is hard to think of anything else. And yet, the burden of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) — such as diabetes and hypertension — remains and continues to grow across low- and middle-income countries. Each year, NCDs kill 41 million people, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally.

In Kenya, over half a million adults were living with diabetes in 2019, and 40% of them were unaware of their condition. Nearly half of hospital admissions and an estimated 55% of deaths in Kenya are associated with an NCD.

Recently, a World Health Organization survey, completed by 155 countries in May 2020, confirmed serious disruptions in prevention and treatment services for NCDs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, noting that low-income countries are most affected. These trends raise great concern, as people living with an NCD are heavily represented among serious cases of the virus. 

 {Photo credit: Niranjan Konduri/MSH}While the transition to digital case management might seem to be simple, health workers in low- and middle-income countries, like Ukraine, are challenged by a lack of basic technologies.Photo credit: Niranjan Konduri/MSH

[Niranjan Konduri]Niranjan KonduriMotivated frontline health workers play a key role achieving global strategies to fight tuberculosis (TB), writes MSH Principal Technical Advisor Niranjan Konduri, of USAID's Systems for Improved Access to Pharmaceuticals and Services (SIAPS) Program, for The Lancet Global Health Blog. Using the story of Irina Chaban, a Ukrainian TB doctor, as an example, Konduri highlights the challenges health workers in low- and middle-income countries must overcome while working to eradicate TB.

"While the transition to digital case management might seem to be a simple solution, [health workers like Chaban] are challenged by a lack of basic technologies that are taken for granted in higher-income countries," Konduri says.

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