LIFE sciences firm Omega Diagnostics has announced it is participating in a major project to improve public health data collection in parts of Africa.

The Alva company is already using a mobile app to record and collate results during the testing of its CD4 test for HIV in Kenya and India.

That app, created in conjunction with Edinburgh-based software company Novarum, can allow for the transmission of data from remote locations into central government databases.

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Now Omega has confirmed it is working as part of the Groupe Speciale Mobile Association to help develop mobile services that can meet public health needs in sub-Saharan Africa.

Andrew Shepherd, chief executive of Omega, said: "Current lab-based static diagnostics tools are unable to meet growing patients' needs as countries step up their HIV treatment programmes in conjunction with the decentralisation of CD4 testing.

"Multi-layer partnerships for mHealth smartphone applications are poised to become an essential ­foundation in the bridge to augment the continuum of care to the neediest patients, while also providing real-time surveillance data."

Others involved in the programme include Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi, Mobilium, MTN and Samsung.

Services will be launched in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia from September, and Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania next year.

Part of that will see discounted Samsung ­products being offered to consumers with smart health applications already embedded.