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Enhancing Science Partnerships for Innovation and Sustainable Development


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Interview with the special ambassador of the Year of Science, Motsi Mabuse
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Photo gallery: Closing Event in Berlin 16/04/2013

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MOBIMED – IT-based technologies for healthcare

Participants of workshop
Workshop in November in Stellenbosch. (c): B. Regierer, Fraunhofer IBMT

The key objectives of the MOBIMED research project are scientific exchange and bilateral collaboration in the field of IT-based health research. The innovation workshop is building on an event that was held last year, where a truck developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) generated quite some interest. This mobile diagnostic laboratory assists doctors in the fight against tuberculosis and HIV, even in remote regions of South Africa. The aim of the new event is to develop potential diagnostic and medical engineering solutions that are specifically aimed at the requirements in South Africa and its neighbouring countries.

The MOBIMED research project is developing the German-South African collaboration opportunities for IT-based technologies for public health in rural areas and for mobile healthcare facilities. An initial workshop on the topic was conducted in November last year in Stellenbosch, South Africa as the prelude to a new international dialogue and awakened a great deal of interest in the scientists involved, as well as in entrepreneurs from both countries.

A particular highlight of the workshop in November 2012 was the viewing of a truck developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT), which can be used as a mobile diagnostic laboratory, for example for diagnosing tuberculosis and HIV. The truck makes it possible to combine local patient care with the reliability of a highly specialised laboratory. It is currently being used at the Caledon hospital in South Africa’s Western Cape region.

Development of the truck itself and its involvement in the local healthcare system served as the starting point for investigating further improvements to medical care for rural areas of South Africa.

As part of the German-South African Year of Science 2012/2013, another workshop – also organised by the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) and the University of Stellenbosch – has now built on these positive outcomes from the first meeting. On 25-28 February, South African experts visited Berlin and took the opportunity to further develop and consolidate the ideas generated in the first workshop.

The Berlin University of Applied Sciences (HTW) hosted the second MOBIMED workshop and issued an invitation for presentations and discussions in the fields of (mobile) diagnostics, electronic health data systems and public health. In addition to this, visits by the South African delegation to various institutions in Berlin and Potsdam provided an insight into the region’s research landscape. Both co-operation workshops thus made a crucial contribution to future long-term scientific and economic collaboration between the countries and research institutes in the field of IT-based technologies for healthcare.