Tackling chronic diseases in Kenya through technology

Medtronic LABS. The NGO has partnered with Kenya Ministry of Health to provide health care to chronic diseases via technology. Photo/ Courtesy

Kenya Ministry of Health and Medtronic LABS, an non-profit organisation have announced the expansion of the Empower Health program in a bid to address the  most pressing chronic diseases throughout Kenya. 

The partnership will see patients of these diseases better connected to their health information, clinical support and medical needs. In the long run, this cooperation aims to reduce barriers to care for these diseases by using the Medtronic LABS technology platform and community-based care model.

The initiative will increase Empower Health’s footprint to help more than 300,000 people across Kenya’s 47 counties, nearly doubling its current patient impact in the country. 

Currently, Medtronic LABS programming has supported the screening of 210,000 people and enrolled 40,000 persons living with diabetes and/or hypertension into care with 52 facilities engaged in the program’s deployment. 

Following the pact, the  program will roll out across Kenya over the next three years and culminate in  full integration into the country’s digital health ecosystem. 

The Empower Health program will help improve clinical outcomes sooner and more efficiently by incorporating opportunities for screening, diagnostics, risk-stratification, and case management of the patients.

“Our joint mission is to strengthen the health system here in Kenya by creating programming that addresses chronic diseases – which are a major public health concern here in Kenya,” said Ruchika Singhal, President of Medtronic LABS. 

Singhal added that the custom technology enabled program has proven to be a success so far, and it will continue to positively impact Kenyans’ health.

“Empower Health connects the healthcare system by providing custom technology to support community health workers, and partners with patients and local administrators to enable better patient outcomes. We’re proud that the program has been so successful thus far and are looking forward to expanding our impact to sustainably help more Kenyans access the healthcare and technology they need.”

Partners in the current program include the Ministry of Health, Medtronic LABS, World Diabetes Foundation, Kenya Defeat Diabetes Association, PATH, Novo Nordisk, Novartis, Viatris, and the NCD Alliance of Kenya. 

Empower Health was launched in 2017 by the Ministry of Health of Kenya, the County Governments of Makueni, Kakamega and Nyeri, Medtronic LABS, and Kenya Defeat Diabetes Association.  

The program is anchored on SPICE, a software technology designed by Medtronic LABS to help community health managers manage chronic disease in place. 

The expansion was announced at a roundtable event that brought together numerous leaders to discuss treating chronic conditions in Kenya and how the partners can work together to support the national expansion of the program. 

Dr. Ephantus Maree, Head of Dept. of Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. Mulwa Andrew, Ag. Director, Directorate of Preventive and Promotive Health and Dr. among other key figures from the ministry of health attended the event that happened last week. 

Medtronic LABS is setting out to design the health system of the future: one that is equitable, tech-enabled, and patient-centred. To date, Medtronic LABS has screened more than 1M patients and improved clinical outcomes for over 35,000 patients in Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, 

Sierra Leone, India, and the Philippines. 

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