Valencia Koomson: NIH grant to partner with the University of Ghana on a study to use cell phones to fill gaps in hypertension management
Tufts Now, 10 November 2021
Are Mobile Health Tools a Panacea for Global Health Challenges?
By Angela Nelson
Engineering and Tisch College professor Valencia Koomson is partnering with the University of Ghana on a study to use cell phones to fill gaps in hypertension management
Innovative, evidence-based strategies are needed to tackle the global burden of hypertension. The ubiquity of mobile phones in emerging economies, such as Ghana, provides a new health care delivery paradigm to improve hypertension health outcomes.
Valencia Koomson [MIT MLK Visiting Associate Professor], an associate professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tufts School of Engineering and at the Tisch College of Civic Life, believes this rapidly expanding telecommunications structure has the potential to improve access to health care around the world, especially in low- and middle-income countries. She’s launching a five-year project with the University of Ghana, which has a long history of collaborating with both Koomson and Tufts, to test that theory in a clinical trial focused on hypertension.
According to the World Health Organization, 7.5 million deaths globally each year are associated with uncontrolled high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attack, stroke, renal or cardiac failure, and blindness. Over 80% of the deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries.
“Ghana is faced with the growing need to expand resource-constrained health systems beyond traditional services focused on communicable diseases to now include noncommunicable diseases, such as hypertension,” says Koomson, whose work has long focused on cost-effective solutions for medical devices in low-resource settings and digital health.