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27th October 2015

A tablet to save millions of lives in rural Africa

What are the deadliest diseases in Africa? HIV/AIDS and malaria, right? Surprising as it might be, cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death for people over 30 in African countries.

In Cameroon this problem is real. But another problem is that for around 22 million inhabitants, the country only has around 50 cardiologists to diagnose and treat those in need.

If you live in the small villages, taking a trip to the city to see one of these specialists may be your only chance of getting your heart data checked, but a chance that can prove to be very expensive

That’s why a young Cameroonian engineer, Arthur Zang, has developed the Cardiopad, a tablet that can transmit cardiac signals over a mobile network and give heart patients in remote areas access to medical assistance.

Simplice Momo is one of the people who benefit from the tablet. He is 55 years old and has suffered from cardiovascular disease for about a year.

“It has been about a year now since they said I had a cardiovascular disease.  I have been traveling to the city to take treatment. But since they brought this machine, they just put the machine on me and I no longer travel to the city. It was expensive for me”, Simplice said.

Zang knew that it was necessary to find a solution to the problems linked with cardiovascular disease. As a young computer engineer however, he didn’t know enough about electronics to produce the tablet right away.

“When I decided to design the tablet at the electronic level, I did not have the knowledge because I was basically a computer science engineer.  So I decided to learn electronics online. I went to the internet and discovered a free education program provided by the Indian Institute of technology.  This is how I learned electronics “, Zang says.

In Cameroon there are no cardiologists trained to do surgery, so patients must be referred to specialists in Europe. With the new tablet, the heart data goes directly to these doctors that then come to Cameroon to perform the operations.

Learn more about the Cardiopad on the project’s Facebook page or read about Zang winning the Rolex Young Laureate Award.

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