Conrad Tankou speaks to Télésud about his plans to save the lives of thousands of women
17 October 2021.
By the Award program team
“Our goal is that within the next few years, GICMED operates not only in each community of Cameroon but also in each country of sub-Saharan Africa.”
Conrad Tankou, CEO of Global Innovation and Creativity Space (GIC Space) is the first prize winner of the Africa Young Innovators for Health Award. He speaks to Télésud about his plans to save thousands of women from breast and cervical cancer, which are among the most common cancers affecting women in Africa, by remotely screening and diagnosing women, even in the most remote areas.
Tankou, who is a trained doctor, talks about how he first came up with GICMED. GICMED is made up of five technologies that were developed to remotely screen and diagnose every woman for breast and cervical cancers. With these technologies, early-stage precancerous and cancerous lesions are further treated onsite through a mobile treatment unit. GICMED consists of a telemedicine platform, a smartphone digital microscopy system, a smart speculum device, a simple fine needle aspirate biopsy device, and an intuitive e-learning and training platform.
The idea, Tankou explains, came to him during his medical work in the community when he was treating a lady who died from cervical cancer. As the innovator said: “I wanted to find a solution for women living in rural areas to have access to valid cervical and breast cancer diagnosis.” The risk of death among women with either disease is much higher than in high-income countries – eight times higher in the case of cervical cancer. This is because too many African women are diagnosed too late which hampers effective treatment and care. Effective screening programs could drastically improve survival rates for women affected. While the invention addresses Cameroon’s lack of cancer specialists, Conrad Tankou reveals that: “Our goal is that within the next few years, GICMED operates not only in each community of Cameroon but also in each country of sub-Saharan Africa.”
Click here to listen to the full interview.