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Mobile phone app launched to improve TB treatment outcomes

NimCureApp

The Co-Creation Hub, which was started by 2017 Tutu Fellow 'Bosun Tijani, is partnering with the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) to launch NimCure, a phone app that acts as a digital patient care tool to promote adherence to treatment of tuberculosis. TB remains one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is considered by the World Health Organisation as one of the most important infectious diseases across most developing nations.  TB is curable but there has been an increase in drug-resistant cases, because patients aren't following their treatment plans. NimCure is an attempt to support and enhance adherence to TB treatment, making outcomes better and  reducing the incidence of drug-resistant strains.

The launch of the mobile phone app, NimCure, was held at the NIMR complex in Yaba on 9 October 2018. It was attended by stakeholders from the public and private health sector.  Nigeria is ranked 4th globally among the 22 high TB-burden countries and multi-drug -esistant-TB is a major public health threat in Nigeria and a leading cause of death in HIV infection.  ccHUB, which developed NimCure, is an innovation centre started by 'Bosun dedicated to accelerating the application of social capital and technology for economic prosperity.

NimCure acts as a digital patient care tool used to promote adherence to treatment by TB patients. Using the NimCure app, patients are paired with caregivers who support and manage their treatment remotely.  The app innovates around the current method of treatment called  Direct Observe Therapy (DOT).  Direct Observe Therapy seeks to ensure compliance with treatment by having a caregiver watch a patient take their drugs.  The app uses vDOT -  video Direct Observe Therapy - making it possible for caregivers to remotely check the patient is following care guidelines.  With NimCure, patients are able to record short videos to log their daily dosage.  In addition to vDOT, the app enables patients to track treatment progress, receive key notifications and reminders, and contact their caregivers. Caregivers, in return, can monitor patient treatment through the videos, manage patient treatment progress, and contact them directly.

Testing of the NimCure app will be through an eight-month clinical trial that commenced in October with 30 patients and six caregivers using remote observing and a control group of 30 patients using the existing, direct therapy method.

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Friday, 18 January 2019

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