Ebola medics get tech tablet

A computer tablet which can withstand being dropped into chlorine and sterilised has been designed by technology experts to aid medical staff working in the parts of Africa hardest hit by the ebola outbreak.

Ebola medics get tech tablet

As cases of the killer disease reached their peak in 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières reached out to the tech community, appealing for a way to help medical staff record patients’ notes quickly and accurately while in high-risk zones.

“Medics working in the west African heat could spend only an hour at a time inside the personal protective suits, and usually spent the final 10 minutes of their shift shouting basic patient notes over a fence to a colleague on the other side, as even a piece of paper leaving the high-risk zone posed an infection risk,” an MSF spokesman said.

“This wasted precious time that medics wanted to spend with patients, while dictating notes across a fence at the end of an exhausting shift whilst wearing a mask was a recipe for error. At the same time, the basic notes did not always give doctors enough information to provide individualised care, making it more complicated to analyse a patient’s condition over time.”

In response to MSF’s call for help, a group of tech volunteers formed, and were later joined by a team from Google. They developed a waterproof tablet that can be dropped into chlorine, sterilised and safely taken out of the high-risk zone. It also charges quickly when placed on a special table.

The team also developed a local network server which is the size of a postage stamp, runs on minimal energy and uses batteries that can be quickly recharged with a generator.

The tablets were successfully trialled in MSF’s ebola management centres in Sierra Leone and are now in use.

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