Technology is helping to Beat Bacteria. Tackling bacterial diseases requires rapid, accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment with antibiotics. But many countries lack the skills and experience needed.
The Academic medical Centre in Amsterdam has developed a special camera which takes high resolution photos of bacteria samples. Doctors at the Vietnamese Hospital for Tropical Diseases are now able to send photos and discuss the cases with Dutch experts over a video link.
We went to the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam to film such a discussion and see how the system works. We filmed as Doctor Lan Huong, at the Vietnamese Hospital for Tropical Diseases in Ho Chi Minh City, sent pictures from her patients to the Dutch experts and then discussed the case over a video link. The Vietnamese patient was in intensive care with a very high fever. Her brain had become inflammed after she ate a raw snail. She had a bacterial infection as well.
The Dutch doctors were happy to share their expertise. And they benefit too by seeing a wide range of bacterial infections from a tropical country.
Thanks to the high resolution camera, the doctors in Vietnam are learning from the Dutch specialists, while helping their patients at the same time. Dutch patients benefit too. Every bacterial sample taken in Amsterdam is recorded using digital imaging. Technicians can compare and diagnose samples at the click of a button. The images are also stored for training purposes.
But this is just the first step. They hope to create an on line community of hospitals from around the world, able to consult and exchange information at any time.
All the hospital needs to take part is the special camera and internet access. In the meantime the Vietnamese Hospital for Tropical Diseases is already seeing the considerable benefits.