Parternships in Belarus providing affordable Health Care to the Poor
Cardiovascular diseases are common among the population of Belarus. Belarus lacks quick cardiac diagnostic and treatment services in many remote areas outside of major cities. Telemedicine offers a solution to this problem by connecting a doctor in a local hospital with a cardiac specialist in a central hospital.
This cardiac specialist can be instantly sent test data, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), and can then quickly provide a diagnosis and recommend a treatment. In addition, patients aren’t required to travel to the central hospital to receive tests, or to wait long periods to receive results.
MobileTeleSystems (MTS), the largest cell phone provider in Belarus, recognized an opportunity to both enter a new market, providing telecommunication services to hospitals, while also improving the health care of the poor.
A pilot project was undertaken in 2008 by MTS, along with the UN Global Compact in Belarus and the Ministry of Health. As of November 2009, four more hospitals in remote areas of Belarus have started using the mobile cardiology systems for providing cardiac consultation to patients, and are paying MTS for using their services. More than 300 people have received quick ECG interpretation during a period of 9 months, which in some cases saved their lives. In addition to the reduction of travel costs for the poor, telemedicine positively impacts the environment due to the reduction of travel related carbon emissions.