News

Celebrate Solutions: Using Mobile Phones to Combat Healthcare Inequality Worldwide

By: Rehema Namukose, Women Deliver

Supporting medicine and public health using mobile technology, also known as mHealth, is changing the landscape of healthcare service delivery in the world today. It is transforming lives of both health workers and communities by bringing technology to hard to reach areas.

Many health advocates, public health practitioners, social enterprises and civil society organisations have created mHealth solutions and implemented them in various parts of the world. Medic Mobile, a social entrerprise, is one such organization that is creating mobile tools and innovations to improve health and lives of people in rural areas worldwide since 2009.

Working with various partners, the organization is improving communication and coordination of service delivery in four major areas: ensuring care for women and their babies; simplifying communication around immunizations; providing better reporting for early diagnosis and treatment of diseases like malaria; and improving availability and accessibility to medication and general healthcare services.

Medic Mobile develops tools using cellular technology to enable community health workers, midwives and other staff of local clinics to monitor progress of patients, help pregnant women to receive antenatal and other healthcare needs, allow health workers to stay in touch with patients and their families, send emergency alerts to regional hospitals, and collect data to inform decision makers.

Medic Mobile has impacted communities in the following ways, as documented in its 2014 Annual Report:

  • Reached 7,836 community healthworkers with mobile tools
  • Enabled the adaptation and use of mobile technology innovations and tools in 21 countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia
  • Worked with 34 partners around the world to implement projects using their innovative software and tools, enabling them to reach 5 million people by the end of 2013
  • Developed 3 new user cases: text messaging for malaria treatment adherence, malnutrition monitoring, and club foot treatment adherence
  • Implemented 54 currently active projects by the end of 2013 —38 actively supported by the Medic Mobile team and 16 Managed by local implementing partners
  • Allowed and supported four partners to adopt and replicate Medic Mobile tools
  • Enabled 3450 patients and household caregivers to use their tools, including 1,810 users in Africaa, 1,300 users in Asia, and 340 users in the U.S.
  • Enabled 859 community health workers in Kenya to use mobile technology for immunization and antenatal care programs: 459 in Kilifi and 400 in Narok
  • Enabled 500 women of Nepal to enroll in a study to track antenatal appointment adherence rates, infant birth weight, and perinatal mortality

Medic Mobile is working with female health workers to extend services to expecting mothers in rural areas in countries like Kenya. According to the report, the organization has partnered with the Ministry of Health in Kenya and Kalifi Kids to train over 450 community health workers in cellphones usage in order to register women as soon as they conceive.

The project aims to provide expecting mothers with internationally accepted standards of healthcare services, and also to encourage women to take advantage of antenatal care (ANC) visits with a health professional and attendance at birth by a skilled professional, ideally in a clinic.

Health workers register expectant mothers’ names, ages, potential danger signs, and estimated due dates and send this information to a centralized database, hosted on computers at local clinics, using the Medic Mobile platform. These visits from healthworkers have been able to bring services to the lowest of grassroot levels to people who have never or have rarely had access to a health system.

In an interview with Medic Mobile, Janet Katana, a community member and a beneficiary of the program says: “I’m very pleased because in my heart I know that any time I have problems, I have my community health worker, and she can send a report to one of the proper doctors over there. I feel looked after.”

Photo via Beyond Borders Media

Entry Comments

  1. There are no comments for this entry yet.

Speak Up!
Required
Required
  Remember me next time.
Notify me of follow-up comments.