Are health apps ‘discriminating’ against developing countries?

The ‘discrimination’ noted here comes from a study published this month in the Journal of Medical Internet Research’s mHealth and uHealth (JMIR), which attempts to cross-reference ‘high-income country’ and ‘low- and middle-income countries’ diseases with the number of apps available for those diseases. The count is based on a review of literature and apps stores. Unfortunately the study, as reported in FierceMobileHealthcare, sounds quite broad-brush. In general, they assert, there are more apps for high-income country diseases such as dementia and ischemic heart disease. Apps for low-income country diseases, such as lower respiratory diseases and malaria, are fewer. Exceptions are apps for HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately affects low income countries but are abundant, and the dearth of apps for  trachea, bronchus and lung cancers prevalent in high and middle-income countries. No mention of whether certain diseases are more effectively controlled by app usage than others, though. JMIR study.

click to enlargeBetter than a ‘malaria app’ would be eradication, and a step towards this is rapid, accurate and inexpensive analysis of this increasingly drug-resistant disease. A Newcastle, UK company, QuantuMDx, founded by molecular biologist Jonathan O’Halloran, will be crowdfunding a miniature malaria blood testing device called Q-POC, which takes a blood sample; through DNA sequencing provides a malaria diagnosis and screens for drug resistance in a record 15 minutes, without running water or stable electricity. The crowdfunding on Indiegogo starting 12 February is to fund the device through clinical trials. Eventual markets are Brazil, India and Africa, then to extend the technology to TB, STDs and cardiovascular disease. MedCityNews

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