Bedford firm wins praise for lifesaving African project

A Bedford company has won plaudits for its role in a lifesaving SMS health project in Africa.

Tuesday, 10th January 2012, 7:48 am

MatsSoft, a provider of workflow and communications solutions, was commended by International Health Partners (IHP) at the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise.

Its process tracking technology has played a crucial role in ensuring the success of IHP’s groundbreaking medical initiative in the Gambia – SMS For Health.

MatsSoft project manager Kash Baga was among the key partners invited to join IHP at the House of Lords.

The organisation received the prestigious innovation award for its work over the past five years, supporting medical aid organisations that serve children and adults in deprived communities around the world.

Harnessing mobile communications, MatsSoft, of Brickhill Drive, created and implemented a system that uses SMS text messaging to deliver updates on the stock levels of key drugs across the supply chain - including remote health clinics - to reduce the risk of supplies running out.

SMS For Health tracks medication supplies and monitors the expiry data of pre-specified medicines- and enables the logging and sharing of data on the incidence of particular diseases and the types of treatment provided in 55 health facilities in the Gambia.

MatsSoft CEO Martin Scovell said: “We were very pleased to work with IHP on this fantastic initiative and to know that our dynamic software platform has contributed towards saving lives is the greatest possible reward.

“However, to receive recognition at the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise is an incredible thrill for us all, and particularly for Kash, for his continued hard work and dedication in support of this vital project.”

Among those present at the awards ceremony were Prof Lord McColl of Dulwich, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of London and the Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Andrew Lansley.

Jono West, partnership projects relationship manager at IHP, said: “International Health Partners invited Kash Baga to attend this event as recognition of MatsSoft’s outstanding work in designing, implementing and running the SMS For Health program in the Gambia. This has enabled vital data on disease outbreak and medicine stock control to be tracked across the whole country’s health facilities using SMS technology.

“Matssoft demonstrated an ability to find solutions to a range of issues and overcame barriers to implementing the project in a developing country, while working in a tight time-frame to have the programme up and running before the Malaria season began.

“Their strong work ethic, flexibility and ability to problem-solve ensured the success of the program.”

Over the past five years, IHP has collaborated with a range of organisations and has been able to donate 15 million treatments, valued at £100m, in 86 countries.

IHP Chairman Stephen O’Brien said: “We are honoured to receive this award which recognises the power of collaboration and the potential of just what can be achieved when multiple stakeholders combine in common purpose.

“Humanitarian aid is an area in which everyone wants to become involved; however, it takes an innovative new model and approach to ensure that the best each partner has to offer can be combined to provide a truly effective humanitarian response.”