Institution: IRISTICK
Institution Country: Belgium
Implementation Country: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Challenge

The Democratic Republic of the Congo has been drastically affected by conflict. From ongoing violence to the Ebola outbreak, the county has over 13 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and less than one doctor for every 10,000 people. This figure is even fewer in rural regions, resulting in a high death rate and rapid spread of disease.

About the Innovation

IRISTICK provides smart glasses to nurses and midwives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which connect them to remote medical staff. This addresses the scarcity of trained healthcare workers by making the eyes, ears, and knowledge of remote doctors available in real-time to local frontline workers in regions affected by conflict.

Solar panels and satellite Internet access are used to ensure power and stable connection for remote consultations. The smart glasses operate hands-free and have several cameras with a 5x optical zoom lens, a head-mounted display, and sensors to facilitate communication. Remote visual and voice guidance assists in surgical procedures, treating life-threatening illness, interpreting point-of-care diagnostic tests, and helping to contain disease outbreaks.

This innovation has been accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic, which emphasized the need for telemedicine. 

“A real-time view tells me more than a 1000 words”, says Dr Alain. As chief of the district hospital, he supports the nurses, wearing the smart glasses, in the rural health centres. “Smart glasses not only greatly improve the diagnosis, but also allow to provide ‘on the job’ training, increasing continuously the quality of healthcare we provide to our local people.”

Intermediaries; Kingandu, DRC