It was a huge delight sharing the story of Siswe Nzima, the co-founder of Iyeza Express; a small business in the Cape Town, South Africa who uses bicycles to deliver medication to people with different chronic health challenges. A venture that has saved numerous lives today.
Like Nzima, Arthur Zang is on a mission to save the lives of his people. At age 24, this Cameroonian engineer invented a touch screen medical tablet which enables heart examinations such as the electrocardiogram (ECG) to be performed at remote, rural locations while the results of the test are transferred wirelessly to specialists who can interpret them. The device saves African patients living in remote areas the trouble of having to travel to urban centers to seek medical examinations.
As a an intern at the General Hospital of Yaounde, in 2010, Arthur Zang discovered the difficulties faced by Cameroonians in accessing care related to the heart. It is indeed extremely disheartening to admit that a country like Cameroon whose population is up to 20 million can only boast of about 41 heart surgeons, most of who are based in major cities. Thus are inaccessible for most patients, especially the majority who reside in the remote cities. This need was what propelled the young Zang to work.
Achieving this huge feat was not an easy deal for this young Cameroonian. But he was able to sail smoothly, in the good company of the 3 P’s; patience, perseverance and positivism. With no advanced training in electronics, Arthur Zang had to enroll in a distance learning program with an Indian University in digital electronics and embedded systems courses.
At the end of this training he was able to design electronically the Cardio Pad touchpad. He ordered the components from China at a cost estimated at about 600,000 CFA francs (about 1,000 Euros). After assembling the various components, Arthur Zang then installed his operating system and software.
He also designed a system for acquiring, processing and transmitting the cardiac signal via a mobile network (GSM for the moment).
The young entrepreneur reckons that the Cardiopad is; “the first fully touch screen medical tablet made in Cameroon and in Africa.”
The way it works: the tablet is used as a classical electrocardiograph device; electrodes are placed on the patient’s chest, and then connected to a module called Cardio Pad Acquisition Mobile (CAM) which, via a Bluetooth interface, transmits the heart signal to the Cardio Pad after the signal has been digitized. One can then read the heart beats, heart rate, and the intervals between each beat displayed on the Cardio Pad, etc. All these data are in turn stored in a file and sent to the cardiologist’s Cardio Pad via a mobile telecommunication network. Innovation at its finest right?
Zang sees his invention as a means of helping his country by reducing the cost of heart examinations there by, saving more lives. He rates the efficiency of his wonder pad at 97.5%, you can be sure that this no hype, for if it were, Professor Samuel Kinguè, who is the head of the cardiology unit of the Yaoundé General Hospital, wouldn’t have said this much;
“I have tested the Cardiopad and the results are quite satisfactory. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), cardiovascular diseases are the primary cause of death in western countries and will soon become a huge concern for African countries as well. Therefore, an invention like the Cardiopad should be supported. It has numerous advantages: it allows distance consultations and can also be adjusted for the treatment of other diseases”.
The genius pointed out the distinction between the Cardiopad and the classical electrocardiograph. In his words; “The Cardiopad has more functions. With the classical electrocardiograph, the results were usually printed on paper and handed to the cardiologist for interpretation.
It wasn’t possible to send or save the results electronically. With the Cardiopad, the results are digitalised and transmitted. There is no need to print them, the heart surgeon can interpret them, even remotely, from his tablet and then send the diagnosis and prescribed treatment”
He further revealed thus; “The Cardiopad will cut down the cost of examination. We intend to sell the device for 1500 euros, while the current price for an electrocardiograph device is 3800 euros. If hospitals purchase the device at a low price, they will be able to lower the prices of medical examinations.”
You know another interesting thing about this invention? It has an impressive battery life. Extremely needful especially in this part of the world.
“The Cardiopad is equipped with a battery that can independently power the machine for more than seven hours”.
In June 2012, Zang completed the assembly of 30 copies of the Cardio Pad with the financial support of the Cameroonian State. Indeed, the Cameroonian government has allocated 20 million CFA francs (305,000 euros) to the engineer to materialize part of his project.
Arthur zang is living out his vision; can you say the same about yourself? If you can see it, then go after it; for it is closer than you can ever imagine. Best wishes from Konnect Africa.