MAPUTO, Mozambique -- Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications technology is saving tens of thousands of infants from mother-to-child HIV infection in Africa.
Based in the UK, Sequoia Technology Group Ltd, an M2M company, along with its longtime technology partner Telit Wireless Solutions, developed a way for rural medical clinics in Africa to wirelessly receive HIV test results of expectant mothers within days of testing, a first for many rural villages. This has allowed mothers with HIV-positive results to begin anti-retroviral drugs much earlier in their pregnancies, reducing the chances of transferring the virus to their newborns from 40% to less than 1%. Nearly half of babies born in Mozambique with HIV die in the first two years of life.
Funded by the Clinton Foundation and Mozambique's Ministry of Health, the HIV Early Infant Diagnosis Project saved an estimated 20,000 babies from infection in just the first six months of its launch. The successful and unique program is now being expanded to nine other African nations, including Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Uganda, and others.
Sequoia Technology developed a small, inexpensive printer, incorporating the short message service (SMS) wireless protocol used for mobile phone text messaging. Utilizing the GC864-Quad V2 wireless modules from Telit Wireless Solutions, the SMS printers are connected to a complex GSM cellular gateway that allows lab results to be wirelessly and securely sent to printers installed at the rural clinics. The GC864 modules are one of the smallest GSM/GPRS quad-band modules with industrial connectors in the market.
"There's very little infrastructure in Africa, most of these clinics cannot be reached by car, have no mail service and no landlines," said Nick Lidington, Managing Director, Sequoia Technology. "The challenge was to use the only mode of communication you can reliably say is everywhere in Africa—the cellular network."
"The printer kit and gateway software we developed has received interest from health ministers throughout the continent," Lidington said. "It can be applied to obtaining lab results for other diseases as well, such as malaria and tuberculosis, so life-saving treatments can begin much sooner."
Lidington added that the advanced monitoring software included with the system can be a powerful tool for health ministers to track where illnesses are appearing and apply medical resources accordingly.
Nearly 400 clinics in Mozambique are now outfitted with the 12 V printers for their low cost, simple operation, and security.
"Telit was the obvious choice to partner with in this life-saving project because they have such robust, high-quality modules and M2M design expertise. This proved invaluable in building the highly complex and critical gateway module software," said Tim Clayton, Wireless Business Manager for Sequoia. "During the pilot phase, we had to prove to the Clinton Foundation we could do 100,000 tests without losing a bit of data. We passed with flying colors."
"Telit is proud to be working with our partner Sequoia on a project of such obvious value and significance," said Dominikus Hierl, Chief Marketing Officer at Telit Wireless Solutions. "We look forward to creating additional M2M applications with our technology partners that enhance and save lives around the world."
About Sequoia Technology
Headquartered in the UK, Sequoia Technology Group Ltd is an independently owned technology solutions specialist in the field of telemetry and wireless M2M modules, terminals, and antennas. With first-class technical and logistics support, Sequoia offers leading-edge technology for a diverse customer base. The company also includes divisions in silicon, HD video, and sensor products.
Telit Wireless Solutions is a brand of Telit Communications PLC, an enabler of M2M communications worldwide, providing wireless module technology, services, and connectivity. Exclusively dedicated to M2M, with more than 12 years of experience in the market, the company constantly enhances its technology leadership with six R&D centers across the globe. Telit offers an extensive portfolio of the highest quality cellular, short-range RF, and GNSS modules, available in over 80 countries. By supplying scalable products that are interchangeable across families, technologies and generations, Telit is able to keep development costs low and protect customers' design investments. In addition, Telit is the only module provider in the market today to offer a value-added services bundle, including connectivity dedicated to simplifying the deployment of M2M applications.
Telit provides "unmatched customer support and premier design-in expertise through its 25 sales and support offices, a global distributor network of wireless experts, with more than 30 Telit-designated Competence Centers, and its online Telit Technical Support Forum."
Telit technology enables organizations to wirelessly collect, process, and respond to real-time data from vending machines, utility meters, cars, remote health monitors, and any other connected devices, creating new efficiencies and revenue opportunities, as well as societal and personal benefits. Join the conversation and learn more about Telit and its customers' innovative applications on Facebook and Twitter.