La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club
Physician and philanthropist Peter “Pete” Killcommons is the CEO of MedWeb, a company that specializes in mobile medical technologies that can work in developing countries all over the world. In 2011, Peter Killcommons visited Yerevan, Armenia, as a keynote speaker for the First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress and to donate a telemedicine system to the Armenian Association of Telemedicine.
The presentation focused on MedWeb’s work implementing telemedicine in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, at the Nangahar University Hospital and Nangahar Public Hospital. MedWeb has been to Afghanistan twice, both times in partnership with the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club, which has a sister city program in Jalalabad, and the Synergy Strike Force, a team of citizen scientists engaged in philanthropic causes.
The trips to Afghanistan provided a MedWeb Deployable Telemedicine Clinic, which includes a portable ultrasound, laptop, and MedWeb server, and also provided training on how to use the equipment. These portable clinics offer valuable accessible medical support in areas that may have been affected by war or natural disasters. The technology is designed to work even in situations where power and communications capabilities are limited. Donating such a clinic to the Armenian association may help provide support in underserved areas of that country as well.
Afghanistan is an area that stands to greatly benefit from modern medical technology, and with his company MedWeb, Dr. Peter (Pete) Killcommons offers a solution through telecommunications. With MedWeb, Peter Killcommons has travelled to the country at least a dozen times since 2008 to help set up opportunities for remote diagnosis, web conferencing, and other solutions for medical and educational aid.
As Afghan telecommunications companies increase their reach, information is more easily transmitted directly from the patient to doctors who might be anywhere in the world. With tools like web conferencing, medical cameras, and teleradiology, diagnosis and education have become much more accessible in remote areas. This advance is especially helpful for the women and children in Afghanistan who may not be able to travel easily without a male escort, so even individuals in remote rural communities can gain useful medical knowledge from home.
Since 2008, MedWeb has donated a portable ultrasound machine and laptop to the Afshar Women and Children’s Hospital, connected a webserver for telemedicine and teleradiology at Acomet Hospital, and donated video conferencing equipment to Nangarhar University Teaching Hospital. In 2011, MedWeb organized a video conference for OBGYN doctors at Nangarhar with the Holy Family Teaching Hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. This conference was the first of its kind and created a collaborative relationship among medical professionals across those borders that are maintained to this day.
In October 2011, I had the distinct honor of being the keynote speaker at the First Armenian International Telemedicine Congress in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Through the philanthropic efforts of my company, Medweb, with the assistance of the International Rotary, we donated networked computer technology to the Nangahar University Hospital and the Nangahar Public Hospital in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. I addressed my Armenian colleagues on the challenges of that mission.
I also consulted with colleagues from Germany, Austria, Russia, Georgia, and Armenia, discussing ways of further collaborating. Almost 300 participants attended the conference, including nearly 100 from the host university. I also visited Armenian villages and made plans to attend the second conference.
This was not my first humanitarian visit to the area. In 2009, I helped fund a new well for a village near Jalalabad. On that and another trip, I assisted in training doctors in using telemedicine. Earlier I visited Iraq, Afghanistan, and Kuwait in support of our military’s efforts to employ telemedicine. Most recently I helped set up a videoconferencing link between Jalalabad and a hospital in Pakistan.
About the author:
Dr. Peter Killcommons and his company, Medweb, have also made humanitarian donations to Antigua, Peru, Tristan da Cunha, Haiti, and Honduras.