The cardiopad is the brain child of Arthur Zang of Cameron. Zang, a computer scientist who harnessed the power of education, collaboration, technology and social media to become a game changer in the medical industry not just in Cameroon but in the world.
At one point there were only 30-40 cardiologists in the nation of 20 million people and these cardiologists were concentrated in the capital city, Yaounde. This meant that patients especially from the rural areas had to travel long distances to get their heart examinations limiting the quality of care they could get. So Zang developed a cardiopad which is basically a mobile electrocardiogram. This is a tablet that uses mobile networks to track heart examinations and monitors heart conditions in patients. He applied his education to solve real world problems. It was during his universities studies working on a project in the local hospital that Zang met a cardiologist, Professor Samuel Kingué who became a mentor and collaborated with him by offering his medical expertise to produce the cardiopad.
Zang illustrated the power of having a solution oriented approach to problem solving by leveraging the power of the internet to learn electronics through the highly respected Indian Institute of Technology. He also received materials to build the prototype from the US based company Microsoft and has done collaborations with the Chinese as well.
In addition, Andrew also received financial support from his family. His mother believed in her son’s dream to change peoples’ lives and leveraged her own resources to get a loan to finance the project. When the costs increased an enterprising Zang sourced the much needed funds through a YouTube video. Part of the funding he received was from the Cameroonian government. This highlights the need for venture capitalists in Cameroon and Africa as a whole who share the same vision.
One of the most remarkable things about Zang is his belief in the power to solve problems and transform lives. Zang’s journey to produce the cardiopad underscores the importance of African governments investing in a systematic approach and intentionally invest in young people by developing their minds and ideas to create African solutions for African problems. A good model of this is the United States. Even though the US touts capitalism and private enterprise as the solution to all economic problems, it is worth noting that the government is the biggest financier of research and development through its military, government agencies and research universities. Some products that are a part of our everyday lives today that were financed by US government research include the microwave and the internet.
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