DistriNets Internet of Things technology supports the health sector in the DR Congo.
Over the past few months imec-DistriNet researchers have been rolling out Internet of Things technologies to support the health sector in the DR Congo. Their LoRaMediFridge has been deployed to monitor blood supplies at the provincial center for blood transfusion in Kikwit in the DR Congo, a town of over 1.2 million inhabitants without any fixed-line electricity infrastructure and shaky access to safe drinking water.
Their pilot project aims to bring new lines of communication to the health sector by leveraging the emerging IoT technology LoRa, a long-range and low-power wireless technology. This technology has opened up the possibility to systematically monitor the medical cold chain in Kikwit for the first time. The LoRaMediFridge monitors the temperature of blood supplies from donors all the way through the supply chain to the end recipients. In their pilot, they explore the proposition that next-generation ICTs offer solutions for development actors operating in decentralised and extremely low-power environments to improve data collection, monitoring, and project feedback. Supported by low-cost and low-power nature of the LoRa infrastructure, the pilot has shown that Internet of Things technologies also belong in the developing world, and can be highly effective in providing critical data to healthcare providers and health organizations.