Swiping our way to a TB-free future, this World Health Day

As the world commemorates World Health Day on 7 April, diseases that claim the lives of thousands annually are a major focus. Worldwide, tuberculosis (TB) remains a significant health challenge.

According to the 2023 Global TB Report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), in 2022 alone, an estimated 10.6 million people contracted TB in 2022, an increase from the 10.3 million individuals who fell in 2021. 1.3 million people also succumbed to the illness. The world, but especially South Africa, has long grappled with TB, and any tool capable of saving lives is an invaluable asset. Telehealth emerges as one such tool, offering promise in mitigating the impact of this disease. 

Arvind Raichur, CEO and Co-founder of Eagle Intelligent Health, a new innovative telehealth app that helps democratise healthcare, says, “If we have any hope of one day eradicating this disease then we need to harness the power of technology. Telehealth provides patients with more options when it comes to healthcare. It ensures that patients have the support they need to recover from the illness while also limiting its transmission to other people.” 

A whole new world:One of the critical aspects of TB treatment is adherence to medication regimens. Far too often people fall into the trap of not completing their course of medication because they begin to feel better. This then creates and spreads the deadlier, drug-resistant TB. To combat this many physicians, recommend directly observed treatment (DOT) where the doctor will observe the patient taking the medicine. The drawback is that having to physically in front of a doctor increases the chance of infection. That is where telehealth comes in. 

Through telemedicine platforms like the Eagle Intelligent Health app, patients receive personalised reminders, educational resources, ongoing support and undergo DOT without increasing the risk of transmission.

Dr. Zaheer Kader, Chief Medical Officer of MediBüddy, emphasizes, "Telehealth empowers patients by providing continuous guidance and encouragement throughout their treatment journey." 

Telehealth also facilitates early detection through virtual consultations and remote monitoring, enabling healthcare professionals to promptly identify TB symptoms and initiate treatment. Perhaps most importantly, downloading an app like Eagle Intelligent Health allows medical professionals to instantly access a patient’s medical records and make the most informed treatment decisions possible. Raichur says, "Telehealth eliminates geographical barriers, allowing patients to access specialised and informed care regardless of their location." 

Connected healthcare:

Through telehealth, healthcare professionals can collaborate among themselves enabling multidisciplinary teams to coordinate care seamlessly. By leveraging digital platforms, specialists can review patient data in real time, share insights, and optimize treatment plans, leading to more effective outcomes. Patients can also conduct virtual follow-up visits, eliminating the need for frequent travel and reducing healthcare costs. This approach ensures regular monitoring of treatment progress. By harnessing the power of technology, we can make massive strides in TB care delivery. With a few swipes, you can download the Eagle Intelligent Health app and take tangible steps toward a TB-free future.