Healthcare is rapidly adopting and enabling solutions based on software, the internet of things, cloud computing or artificial intelligence.
And Covid-19 spurred their development and utilisation. We see incredible advancements that will not only diminish the effects of Covid-19 but integrate with other treatment modalities to address the global cancer burden.
In Europe, the trend towards hypofractionated radiotherapy (increasing the dose of radiation so that it can be delivered in fewer sessions) directly addressed coronavirus concerns, limiting the number of times patients must visit the hospital and decreased medical centre traffic and staff workload.
Late last year, the University of Leeds, with Public Health England and the Royal College of Radiologists, reported how that helped patients, offsetting a major decline in treatment sessions overall.
In Africa, the pandemic has been bad enough on its own but its effect on cancer patients has especially been tragic and the problem has received too little attention.
Efforts against the coronavirus, such as lockdowns, reduced staff or travel restrictions means many cancer patients don’t receive the diagnosis or treatment they need, like radiotherapy.
Diverse genetic landmass
But Kenya does not have the human resources, training and competence to use the technique. And although, out of 10 patients, five require radiotherapy, only two have access to it.
That Africa, the world’s most diverse genetic landmass and the biggest data prover for research, isn’t committed to the promise of more personalised medicine and treatment, one tailor-made based on biopsy specimens, patient history and related data, is a challenge for researchers to create local therapies and study how medicines interact with our bodies, and makes it more difficult for doctors to ensure treatment compliance.
Let’s invest in in-country capacities to leverage the robust abilities of Big Data in medicine to build better health profiles and predictive models around patients for better cancer diagnose and treatment.