Ghana’s Ministry of Health plans to invest 21.6 million euros in a project to detect tuberculosis at an early stage. This eHealth project, which involves a network of 52 digital X-ray systems, is funded by a 7-million-euro Dutch ORIO (Facility for Infrastructure Development) subsidy, and a concessional loan.
On 19 May, the project documents were officially signed at the Ministry of Health in Accra, in the presence of Ghana’s Minister of Health and the Dutch Ambassador to Ghana, as well as RVO.nl and Oldelft representatives from the Netherlands.
Ghana had selected Oldelft Benelux from Veenendaal as a “turnkey” supplier. The company will cooperate with its technology partner, Delft Imaging Systems, in the implementation of this project. The 52 digital X-ray systems, which are equipped with Computer Aided Detection software (CAD4TB), form a national platform for teleradiology. It should be noted that, in addition to detecting cases of TB from chest X-rays, these X-ray systems also enable the hospitals to diagnose cancer, trauma, etc. This project will give eHealth in Ghana a huge boost.
The threat of tuberculosis
Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that results in nearly 10 million new cases each year. In the same period there are 1.5 million deaths – 4,100 patients per day. For the purposes of comparison, in the period from 2014 to 2015 a total of 11,000 people died of Ebola. With timely diagnosis, TB can usually be cured by a course of treatment that takes less than six months and costs about 25 euros per patient.
The consortium responsible for implementing this project consists of three partners. Oldelft Benelux, a member of the Canon Group, is the leader of the consortium. Delft Imaging Systems is the technology partner for CAD4TB, and local executor of the project. Universal Hospitals Group (UHG), a Ghanaian service and maintenance organisation, will perform the maintenance work in the hospitals. The project will be implemented within two years, in close cooperation with the Ghana Health Service. It will also cover warranty and maintenance for a period of seven years. The Dutch KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation will provide technical assistance for some elements of the project.
In 2014, ORIO stopped accepting new applications. DRIVE is the new, modified public infrastructure programme. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl) was given responsibility for the implementation of both programmes, by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.