News / Health

Young Inventor’s Cardiopad Undergoing Trials in Cameroon

Inventor Arthur Zang in his office in Yaounde, Cameroon. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA)
Inventor Arthur Zang in his office in Yaounde, Cameroon. (Moki Edwin Kindzeka/VOA)

Cameroon is experimenting with Africa's first mobile system to transmit a cardiac signal over a mobile network, allowing heart patients in remote areas vital medical assistance. The Cardiopad is the brainchild of Cameroon engineer Arthur Zang, who was just 24 years old when he invented it two years ago.

Medical staff at the Bafia hospital are using a touch screen medical tablet that enables heart examinations, such as the electrocardiogram, to be performed at remote, rural locations while the results of the tests are transferred wirelessly to specialists who can interpret them.

A 55-year-old patient, Simplice Momo, said the cardiopad saves him time and money accessing treatment in the capital, where the nearest heart specialist is found.

"It has been about a year now that they said I had a cardiovascular disease.  I have been travelling to the city to take treatment. But since they brought this machine [device], they just put the machine on me and I no longer travel to the city. It was expensive for me," said Momo.

Cameroon has a population of about 22 million people, with only 40 heart surgeons concentrated in Douala or Yaounde. Sometimes the expertise needed can only be found outside the country.

Saint Elizabeth Cardiac Center Nurse Apolonia Budzee told VOA the device will enable them to transmit medical information from their more than 300 patients to specialists who are based in Europe.

"We do not have a resident surgeon. So we have various teams coming from Italy, from France, Sweden, Germany and other places. So we are not working on a daily basis. We collect the patients and then program and call the people up to come and operate," said Budzee.

That is exactly what inventor Arthur Zang envisioned five years ago when he started this project. The young computer engineer said he needed additional training and $45,000 to develop the device. His family did not have the money and banks turned him down for loans, so he shared his idea on social media and he found the answers. 

One was an unexpected investor, Cameroon President Paul Biya, who personally gave him the funds. Zang also got free online training from an engineering school in India.

"When I decided to design the tablet at the electronic level, I did not have the knowledge because I was basically a computer science engineer.  So I decided to learn electronics online.  So I went to the internet and discovered a free education program provided by the Indian Institute of technology.  This is how I learned electronics online," said Zang.

The Cardiopad has been validated by the Cameroon scientific community as extremely effective. The 25 centimeter touch screen connects to electrodes placed on a patient’s heart and transmits a digitized heart signal via a Bluetooth interface over a mobile network.

Hanns Nfor of the Cameroon Medical Council said Zang has made proud not only Cameroon, but all of Africa.

"That boy is a genius. He is very, very, intelligent. He needs to be assisted in his effort to help people," said Nfor.

The government of Cameroon has not been able to provide the device, costing about $4,000, to hospitals in need.  Most of them lack internet access and energy.

But the limited trials in Cameroon are attracting attention and may bring the assistance needed.

Zang says he has had commercial investors contact him, but he is more interested in socially committed investors who shared his vision; not of money, but of better ways to help improve people’s lives.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

1855 Slave Brochure Starkly Details Sale of Black Americans

Document lists entire families that were up for sale in New Orleans, offering graphic insight into the slavery trade More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs