Copyright © Françoise Herrrmann
If you had grown up in a remote village in Cameroon, in a family with heart disease, are 26 years old and a brilliant computer scientist, who learnt electronic engineering via free, online, distance learning, delivered by India’s Institute of Technology, and you “think of other people and how to solve their problems”, then you might have come up with an invention like the touch screen Cardiopad! [WIPO, 2014].
Of course ,you would also have to be Arthur Marc Zang Adzaba, the young African inventor hailing from Cameroon, who has probably also jump-started a viable way of bringing affordable cardiology to the poorest and most destitute areas of the world. And who dreams of bringing radiology and sonogram technology for additional medical specialty care, in a similar way, to remote and underserved populations in Cameroon, and to all of Africa.
This invention was developed in three steps. First, software had to be programmed for an EKG exam using electrodes connected to the touchscreen pad and a wireless Bluetooth enabled connection to a mobile network to send the digitized heart signal data that is collected and recorded. Secondly, the touchscreen hardware had to be designed to package the program for the exam, for viewing, storing, sending, receiving and analyzing the digitized heart data. And finally, crowd-sourced Venture Capital through social media had to be obtained to produce and market the device [(1) VC4Africa], with others "who share a vision”to help improve people’s lives”.
In a country like Cameroon where there are about 40 cardiologists for a population of 22 million, and all of the cardiologists are located in the two large urban cities of Yaoundé and Douala, this makes access to specialists next to impossible and very expensive, in remote areas and villages. [OAPI, BOPI 2014].
The Cardiopad resolves this issue as it brings cardiology to the villages, where a patient’s heart activity can be recorded and sent directly via mobile network to the cardiologist, who in turn reads the EKG in order to diagnose and deliver care. It is also possible, via the availability of mobile digitized heart data, to send EKG data to Europe in view of scheduling additional surgical assistance for the hundreds of heart patients that become concentrated in the urban center hospitals. (Voice of Amerca, 2014).
Perhaps best of all, the Cardiopad is also produced in Africa, which adds economic benefit to improved healthcare. Reliability of the digitized heart data was initially estimated as high as 97.5%. The device is currently undergoing clinical testing in Cameroon [Voice of America, 2014).
The abstract of this invention, as published in the OAPI BOPI official newsletter, appears in French [OAPI, 2014]. Below a patent drawing and a marketed device are both included.
OAPI (2014) BOPI 12DR/2014, p. 31. – Oct. 3, 2014. http://www.oapi.int/bopi/brevet/BOPI_12BR2013.pdfHarris, E. (2014) Cardiopad: Reaching the Hearts of rural communities in Africa. WIPO Magazine, Sept. 2014. http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2014/05/article_0002.htm Kindzeka, E.M. (2014) Young inventor’s Cardiopad undergoing trials in Cameron, Voice of America 07-10-2014 http://www.voanews.com/content/young-inventors-cardiopad-undergoing-trials-in-cameroon/1954527.html Nsehe, M. (2012) Young African invent touch screen medical tablet. Forbes.com, Feb. 9, 2012 http://www.forbes.com/sites/mfonobongnsehe/2012/02/09/young-african-invents-touch-screen-medical-tablet/