The needs are tremendous: outside the capital, where most dermatologists work, patients from other regions are seen by general practitioners or nurses. Dermatoses are the third most-common reason for a doctor’s visit, but insufficient training in these conditions leads to incorrect diagnoses and additional treatment costs. As a result, patients may have to travel hundreds of kilometres for initial and follow-up visits for acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, etc. To compensate for the lack of specialists, teledermatology is a vital solution that optimises available resources, ensuring better coverage for people living in regions without specialists.
This two-year project is led by the Société Mauritanienne de Dermatologie (Mauritanian Dermatology Society) and the Programme de Télémédecine de Mauritanie (Mauritania’s national telemedicine programme), both of which volunteered in 2018 to replicate the teledermatology model developed in Mali .
It targets those living in three of the country’s regions, Kiffa, Kaédi and Zouerate, where there are no dermatologists. Twelve health care facilities in these three regions have been selected to become dermatology consultation units.
Two health workers at each unit will be trained in the most common dermatoses so as to address a portion of the need. They are next trained to use new technologies and take photographs to refer complex cases remotely to dermatologists from the Mauritanian Dermatology Society. This team of 24 health workers, supported by dermatologists across the country, will be able to treat 3,600 patients per year.
Learn more: report on implementing teledermatology in Mali
 Based on assessments by the Mauritanian Dermatology Society
Pour aller plus loin : reportage sur la mise en place de la télédermatologie au mali
A project incorporated into the Mauritanian national telemedicine programme
This project is backed by the national telemedicine programme established by the Mauritanian government, which is forging a communication network connecting all hospitals and health centres across the country. This network uses an intranet with a secure connection that also allows users to send and share large files. For smartphones, mobile operators have 3G, with 4G available on the horizon.
In July 2019, at the African Teledermatology Conference hosted by the Fondation Pierre Fabre in Lomé, Togo, the team of the Mauritanian Dermatology Society presented the details of this project’s implementation to a hundred representatives (dermatologists, physicians, leaders of non-profit organisations) from 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. These meetings facilitate sharing and disseminating solutions that can inspire future programmes to improve access to dermatological diagnosis and treatment in Africa.