AKDN dHRC has partnered with the Aga Khan University (AKU) and Tech4Life Enterprises to develop a device for non-invasive diagnosis of stroke risks. Zahir Medic is a wearable leather glove that allows patients to check their blood pressure, ECG and glucose levels non-invasively. The glove is linked to a mobile application to monitor, track and provide first-level preventive care to patients with non-communicable diseases. Color-coded measurements indicate to the patients whether they are at low, moderate or high risk; these measurements are understandable to patients no matter what their numeracy and literacy skills.
Biomedical and mobile technologies along with clinical expertise have been combined to develop the glove, mobile application and corresponding algorithms. The glove consists of photodiodes (capable of converting light into either current or voltage), blood pressure and ECG sensors integrated with a central circuit. Algorithms work to process and convert the readings from these sensors into diagnosis, which is displayed on the integrated mobile application.
The project is steered by a multi-disciplinary team, led by Dr Ayeesha Kamran Kamal, Associate Professor and Stroke Neurologist, AKU. A scientific team of nurses and physicians developed the clinical protocols and intelligence to mirror international standards and harmonisation. Biomedical engineers and mobile application developers from AKDN dHRC and Tech4Life Enterprises developed the glove hardware, prototype and mobile application and converted the clinical protocols into mathematical algorithms.
After the prototype was developed, testing was performed in Karachi homes and the glove and real-time results were tracked through the web. The project met with a few challenges such as recruitment and retention of skilled resources with relevant experience, and the rapid development and pace required in the face of regional challenges such as administrative and logistic bureaucracy. The availability of this glove will mean that patients will no longer have to depend on complex and costly ways to determine stroke risks. Instead, they will have a simple and publically accessible means available to them. The project was funded by the Grand Challenges Canada, Rising Stars in Global Health Program, which supports “Bold Ideas with Big Impact.” Grand Challenges Canada is funded by the Government of Canada.
[More information on AKDN Digital Health Resource Centre]