Africare In the News

Collaboration introduces automated malaria detection and real-time reporting into services supported by ExxonMobil Foundation in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states

UYO, AKWA IBOM, NIGERIA | APRIL 25, 2016 – Africare, the oldest and largest African-American led non-profit committed to advancing development in Africa, is joining forces with Fio Corporation, a Canadian technology company, to introduce automated malaria testing and real-time reporting in Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.

Launched on World Malaria Day, this collaboration introduces Fio’s integrated diagnostic and data technology into frontline malaria services provided through an existing Africare program supported by ExxonMobil: Malaria Prevention in ExxonMobil Supplier Communities (MAPS-C).

“Nearly 30 percent of all malaria infections happen in Nigeria,” said Africare’s President and CEO, Robert L. Mallett. “Any step we take forward to advance malaria control in this country can go a long way to advance the global fight against the disease. We are excited to be taking this step with Fio today to improve malaria detection and surveillance in our MAPS-C program.”

Thirty health facilities currently offer on-the-spot malaria testing and treatment services to rural communities in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states through the MAPS-C program. Health workers at these facilities will receive Fio’s intelligent mobile diagnostic device, called the Deki™ Reader, to help them more accurately diagnose malaria and record results. Program managers will be able to log on to the Fionet™ web portal to review real-time reports automatically generated from diagnostic data and other valuable information that health workers capture while carrying out their routine activities.

“When program managers see reports generated from the data these devices capture, they know they’re seeing an accurate reflection of what’s actually happening on the ground,” said Dr. Santiago Ferro, Fio’s Vice President of Clinical Affairs. “Improving healthcare delivery and data in this way has had a transformative impact for programs in other countries tackling various health challenges. We look forward to helping Africare accelerate the fight against malaria here in Nigeria.”

“Fio’s technology provides a glimpse into what we can achieve,” said Africare Country Director Dr. Orode Doherty. “It’s like turning on a light for every positive malaria test and getting a malaria map of Nigeria. Then we would be able to direct resources where they are most needed to eliminate this disease.”

All data that health workers capture with Deki Readers at MAPS-C facilities will be available through the Fionet web portal to authorized personnel at the ministry of health and other stakeholders involved in eliminating malaria in Nigeria.

“Early and accurate diagnosis is the critical first step to successfully treating individual patients for malaria and effectively tracking and controlling the disease among populations as a whole,” said Africare Malaria Programme Director, Dr. Patrick Adah. “If we want to put an end to malaria in this country we have to start with improving how we identify and respond to what’s happening at the local level.”

Fio support staff have already started building local capacity among a team of Africare-led “Master Trainers” to teach health workers and program managers how to integrate Deki Readers and the Fionet web portal into MAPS-C operations.

A stakeholders meeting will be coordinated within a few months to review preliminary findings from the rollout of Deki Reader and Fionet technology and to explore next steps for scaling up the partnership between Africare and Fio beyond Nigeria’s Akwa Ibom and Rivers states.