Project Details

African woman standing next to her village home.


Using TV white space to provide remote medical care

By Botswana Innovation Hub

Project URL:
Project Twitter: @MicrosoftAfrica

  • Health
  • Internet

Much of the population in Botswana lives in remote rural areas, which can make it difficult to gain access to specialised health care. In addition to a lack of specialists in these sparsely populated areas, there has not been reliable internet to make remote consultations possible. 

Microsoft is working in collaboration with the Botswana Innovation Hub, the Botswana-UPenn Partnership (BUP), Global Broadband Solutions, Vista Life Sciences, BoFiNet, Adaptrum and USAID-NetHope to change that. 

Project Kgolagano will use TV white space to connect patients in rural areas with specialists remotely so that they don’t have to travel thousands of kilometres to the nearest city. TV white space is the unused spectrum on the frequency range that is commonly used to deliver television channels, which can instead be accessed to deliver broadband. This emerging technology is ideal because it can operate in underserved communities off-grid by using solar power. 

Project Kgolagano will have a specific focus on providing access to specialised maternal medicine to improve the livelihoods of women located in small towns and rural areas. Hospitals and clinics in Lobatse, Francistown and Maun are participating in the first phase. BPU is providing the telemedicine experts and doctors to connect with the local hospitals and clinics. Patients will have access to specialised medicine from Gaborone and other locations around the world. 

Microsoft has launched similar pilots through its 4Afrika initiative across Africa including Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Tanzania and Ghana. In Botswana, Project Kgolagano has been authorised to transmit using TV white space by the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA). With such strong support, Project Kgolagano expects to launch in additional cities within the coming months.

Image 'Living with ancestors' courtesy of Teseum.

Last updated: 18th of September, 2015

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