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MEETING: Ifakara, partners evaluate groundbreaking pilot study

Jan. 9, 2024 9:00
MEETING:  Ifakara, partners evaluate groundbreaking pilot study
Dr. Omar Juma, a Research Scientist at IHI facilitating a discussion during the meeting. CREDIT: Ifakara Communications

Skin disease management tool proves a success

On January 8th 2024, Ifakara Health Institute and partners met in Kingani, Bagamoyo to evaluate the progress made on a groundbreaking pilot study on the use of “Teledermatology for real time skin disease management. 

What is Teledermatology

Teledermatology is a way of using technology for remote dermatology consultations. It involves sending pictures of skin conditions using a smartphone to dermatologists for diagnosis and treatment advice. According to Dr. Omar Juma, a Research Scientist at IHI and member of the organizing team, the advantage is that a specialist can be in a different location, such as Dar es Salaam, while reviewing images sent from places like Kigoma. 

Piloted in 2017

The roots of this initiative were planted in 2017 through collaboration among the Bagamoyo District Hospital, IHI, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and partnering institutions like the University of Missouri, Muhimbili National Hospital, and Columbia University. 

The pilot, initially implemented in dispensaries and three primary schools in Bagamoyo, responded to the shortage of specialized dermatology professionals in the region and has been in use ever since.

A “very successful” pilot

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss findings from a recent survey conducted by the institutions on the acceptability and scalability of technology. Dr. Juma highlighted the survey findings, stating, "The technology has proven to be very successful, providing access to specialists even for patients in remote villages. Additionally, the pilot demonstrated that patients can now receive their results in as little as one week…” something that was not possible before. 

Encouraged by the positive results, the team discussed expanding the project. Funding opportunities and potential partnerships with additional institutions were explored, and a strategic roadmap was outlined for the continued development and broader coverage of this transformative technology.


The meeting was attended by Dr. Juma, Prof. Kari and Dr. Humphrey from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Magdalena representing Muhimbili National Hospital, Dr. Lyimo, Dr. Mbaga, Dr. Jane, Dr. Festo, and Dr. Magreth from Bagamoyo District Hospital, The Bagamoyo Council, represented by the District Health Primary School Coordinator, and three teachers.