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Chapter 47 : Point-of-Care Medical Device Connectivity: Developing World Landscape
The past 20 years have witnessed enormous technological improvements in the development of simple and accurate point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests for detection and management of infectious diseases. At the same time, many stakeholders are now demanding real-time access to this accurate and robust diagnostic information, especially in low- and moderate-income (LMI) countries with resource-limited settings. New technologies and drugs for early diagnosis, continuous monitoring, and treatment of HIV infection have improved the prognosis of infection and the quality of life among individuals living with HIV. In 2009, 5 years after the availability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) was expanded in sub-Saharan Africa, drug treatments alone reduced mortality due to HIV infection and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome by 20%. However, in the same year only one-third of the 15 million people in LMI countries who were in need of ART received it. In these areas, a lack of resources, be they infrastructure, financial, or human, can hamper access to care for the resident populace. These deficits result in delayed treatment, poor patient follow-up, and poor adherence to ART, all of which contribute to the high rate of transmission and mortality. Therefore, substantial efforts have been taken to build low-cost and POC HIV diagnostic and monitoring solutions that effectively make early diagnosis and treatments available to even the most resource-constrained communities (1).