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Tuberculosis is a deadly disease which kills more than 300,000 in India each year, and to prevent the development of drug resistance over its typical 6-month treatment regime patients have to stick very closely to their prescribed treatment, which in most cases means directly observed treatment, ie. patients have to come to a clinic and be seen swallowing their medication every day.
For poor Indian TB sufferers in rural areas that can be an onerous burden, but Bill Thies, a Microsoft Researcher who hails from MIT, and who works at the Microsoft Research Group in Bengaluru and colleague Andrew Cross have come up with a system which may make life a lot easier for all concerned.
The system would include a semi-unique toll-free number hidden behind some doses of medication, that the patient would need to call to confirm they have taken that dose. The number would differ in an unpredictable way, allowing the medical team to confirm adherence to the treatment regime and provide other rich data, such as where and when the medication was taken, and health care providers can call them to notify them if they missed a dose.
Microsoft is making the project, called 99DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy) openly available to health care organisations for the benefit of the global community.
Read more about the solution in Satya Nadella’s blog post here.