Dr. Carolanne Doherty is joining gHealth Research as project manager. gHealth Research are working to improve global health through innovative strategies for diagnosis, treatment and management of diseases primarily in low and middle income countries. These global health projects include biomarker and therapeutic research and mHealth and healthcare system research. She has recently completed a PhD in Systems Biology researching druggable targets in cancer signalling.
The gHealth research group focuses on a number of major themes. Details of some current and planned projects are outlined below:
The group have a number of projects ongoing in this area which utilise the widespread mobile phone network and new sensor technologies to manage acute and chronic illness in low and middle income countries (LMIC).
- MTIMA (Managing Type 2 Diabetes in Malawi, Africa)
This is a collaboration between UCD, Imperial College London, Mzuzu University and other governmental and non governmental organisations in Malawi which will improve management of type 2 diabetes in Malawi using eHealth and point of care biomarker approaches to enable community based care for type 2 diabetes.
- Supporting LIFE (Low cost Interventions For hEalth)
This is a €3.7m FP7 funded project of which Joe Gallagher is co-PI. It is developing and trialling the use of an eHealth solution for the diagnosis and management of acute illness in children under 5 in Malawi
- VADIS 1 (Vital Signs to Aid Diagnosis in Serious illness)
This will develop a database of the symptoms, physical symptoms and vital signs of approximately 25,000 acutely ill children in Malawi. Using this data a decision support system for identification of serious illness in children will be developed for deployment on mobile phone platforms.
This will be a RCT of the decision support system developed from VADIS 1 compared to the current WHO Integrated Management of Childhood Illness guidelines
The potential for biomarkers to be used as point of care diagnostics in LMIC will enable widespread community dissemination of diagnostics without the need for expensive and highly technical imaging modalities which may be difficult to deploy in countries with few doctors and nurses.
This is an observational project and will involve the recruitment of type 2 diabetic patients from Mzuzu Central Hospital, and will be coordinated by our Malawi based NGO collaborators Luke International Norway. The study includes the assessment of the cardiac stress hormone NTproBNP (NTproBNP point of care in Malawi), glycosylated haemoglobin, fasting glucose and lipid profile using point of care devices, ECG, blood pressure, history, and clinical characteristics. Computerised records will be developed and will be linked up with cloud services – we will be able to access data remotely, and watch it being entered in real time.
- BICA (BIomarkers of Cardiomyopathy in Africa)
Accessing echocardiography is a major issue in low and middle income countries. Developing novel biomarkers to aid early identification of cardiomyopathy is a key step forward identified by the European Heart Failure Association. These can then be deployed using point of care platforms.
Endomyocardial Fibrosis is a cause of heart failure of unknown aetiology confined to tropical areas and affecting over 10 million people. It is a poorly researched condition and the disease mechanisms remain undefined. By investigating the pathophysiology of EMF the group aims to elucidate the possible cause of EMF and identify novel therapeutic targets.
Given that the majority of people in LMIC live in rural areas one of our key objectives is to ensure that care is accessible in the community where possible. Therefore our projects focus on ensuring that high quality care can be provided in primary care facilities for common conditions and effective referral pathways are available to those in need of specialist care.