NEC Corporation and SATELLIFE Join Forces to Combat Malaria in Ghana, West Africa

Roye A. Bourke
1999-08-11

Press Release: Thanks to a donation from NEC Corporation, SATELLIFE has provided a portable Mlink 5000 ground station that has enabled critical communication among researchers and health officials in one of Africa's key malaria research sites.

Every year 300-500 million people become ill with malaria, one of the most deadly mosquito born diseases in the world. With the support of the United Nations, Ghana's Ministry of Health has established a research center in Navrongo that supplies protection to as many as 139,000 people and tracks the rate of infection. Navrongo is a rural community separated from the capital city of Accra by 1,000 kilometers. Reliable communications between the two communities have been non-existent.

Linking researchers in the two communities is critical to combating the malaria epidemic in the country. Without local communication access, scientists on the project have to travel 1,000 kilometers in order to share data, report findings to other health officials or access information from related malaria initiatives. Now, thanks to the generous gift of an Mlink 5000 portable ground station from the NEC Corporation of Japan to SATELLIFE, a Boston-based internet non-profit, SATELLIFE is able to support the network of health professionals in Navrongo with a critical communication link.

The Navrongo Research Centre is a primary site for preventive research on malaria. "The use of bednets impregnated with insecticide, has reduced the death rates due to malaria, especially in children," states Titus Tei, systems operator at the site. The current principal activity of the project is the provision of the nets and their periodic re-impregnation. The ground station will be used for emergency calls to and from Navrongo, as well as for e-mail communications that facilitate data reporting to disease control institutions. Even if the local communication improves, the ground station will continue to serve as an emergency back-up system for the Navrongo Health Research Centre.

SATELLIFE (www.healthnet.org) is a humanitarian organization that connects health professionals in remote areas to critical sources of information and has provided the technology tools to communicate that information with colleagues around the world. Utilizing low earth orbit satellite communications technology, SATELLIFE has designed an e-mail based communication system that is affordable, easy to use, and functional anywhere in the world, no matter how remote. SATTELLIFE has estimated that its service is utilized by nearly 20,000 physicians and other health workers in 164 countries throughout the world.

NEC Corporation of Japan (www.nec.com) is a leading provider of communications products and systems. The company offers high performance, highly reliable infrastructure equipment and systems for public carriers, utility and independent telephone companies, business communications systems, Computer Telephony Integration solutions, videoconferencing and networking products for healthcare facilities and universities to keep people in touch.





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