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Science Saturday Diagnostic tool developed by Swiss public health experts ready for scale-up in Nigeria

A local government health worker examining an infant in Nigeria.

The TPH intends to target health centres in particularly remote areas with low resources. 

(Keystone)

Last year, the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (TPH)external link developed a tablet-based tool to improve diagnosis and treatment of children under the age of five. According to a TPH press releaseexternal link on Thursday, the technology is now ready for scale-up following successful pilot projects in Nigeria and Afghanistan.

The tool, named ALMANACHexternal link (Algorithms for the Management of Childhood Illnesses) was developed in collaboration with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)external link to help fight child mortality in the developing world.

In a nutshell, the tool allows health care workers to more easily evaluate and diagnose sick children and prescribe treatment based on their symptoms. It was developed to replace paper-based assessment charts, which were often challenging for workers to use during consultations.

ALMANACH also provides country-specific information on treatment guidelines and updated information based on the latest research – an advantage for health care workers in remote and low-resource settings.

Prerequisites in place

The ICRC and Swiss TPH are preparing to scale up their project in the Adamawa state in Nigeria – a region affected particularly badly by militant attacks of the Boko Haram extremist group. A state-wide survey showed that 80% of health facilities in Adamawa had the necessary prerequisites to introduce the tool.

“We are very happy to see that requirements such as essential medicines and equipment, running water and medical staff are already in place in most places,” said Swiss TPH project leader Martin Raab. 

The scale-up is planned from 2018 to 2021 and will include over 300 health facilities.

swissinfo.ch/ln

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