Zetes helps Médecins Sans Frontières monitor Ebola patients

Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) has launched a project at its largest treatment centre, in Monrovia (Liberia), to monitor patients infected with the Ebola virus. Zetes participated in this initial phase by providing a mobile application that will track the location, condition, and treatment of patients in a very difficult environment using portable terminals. This system is now in its pilot phase in Monrovia.

ELWA3, the Ebola facility set up by MSF in Monrovia, is housed in a group of big tents. At present, information concerning the condition of patients is shared verbally or on sheets of paper scanned manually inside the high-risk zone. MSF wanted a more efficient, robust, and reliable system in which data could be input, sent, and processed in real time, whilst limiting the risks of error and of spreading the virus by nosocomial transmission.

On arrival at the centre, each patient receives a bracelet with a printed bar code and unique identification number. The MSF doctors scan the patient identifier, which then allows them to look up the patient’s records and input their diagnosis directly using a questionnaire displayed on the screen of a mobile terminal. The information is sent to the centre’s database via wireless network. The results of the examination will determine the treatment to be administered by the team of nurses and hygienists, and adds to the epidemiological database. Thanks to the solution supplied by Zetes, medical personnel can now look up the location, condition, and progress of every patient at any time.

MSF personnel work under extremely harsh and demanding conditions, with temperatures approaching 40°C and humidity levels above 90 percent. In addition, the doctors must wear heavy, bulky PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) suits. This limits the amount of time they can spend with patients. That is why there is no time to waste when it comes to sending data. The mobile terminals supplied are resistant to heat, humidity, and dust. They are also designed to withstand contact with liquids, which is essential because all equipment used during patient exams must be cleaned with a chlorine solution. Zetes aimed to take all of these requirements into account whilst providing the simplest and most appropriate solution possible.

Robin Vincent-Smith, Project Manager for ‘ELEOS’ (Ebola Link Emergency Operational Support) at MSF, said, ‘The solution put forward by Zetes provides the best response to the factors imposed by our working conditions and the overall context. The seriousness and scale of the problem mean that we can’t afford to waste any time on research and development to find a new solution. We need a system that is ready to deploy, robust, and easy to use.’

Alain Wirtz, CEO of Zetes commented, ‘Zetes has the benefit of several decades of experience in the hospital sector, and has carried out projects in African countries where conditions were extremely challenging. We are delighted to be able to use this expertise to support Médecins Sans Frontières. We sincerely hope our contribution will be very helpful to them.’