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Mobile Technology for Empowering Health Workers in Underserved Communities: New Approaches to Facilitate the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases

Stanton, M., Molineux, A., Mackenzie, C. and Kelly-Hope, L. (2016) Mobile Technology for Empowering Health Workers in Underserved Communities: New Approaches to Facilitate the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance, 2 (1). ISSN 2369-2960

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Abstract

As global mobile phone penetration increases, direct health information communication from hard-to-reach communities is becoming commonplace. Mobile health (mHealth) tools that enable disease control programs to benefit from this information, while simultaneously empowering community members to take control of their own health, are vital to the goal of universal health care. Our aim was to highlight the development of the Liverpool mHealth Suite (LMS), which has been designed to address this need and improve health services for neglected tropical diseases being targeted for global elimination, such as lymphatic filariasis. The LMS has two main communication approaches—short message service and mobile phone apps—to facilitate real-time mass drug administration (MDA) coverage, reporting patient numbers, managing stock levels of treatment supplies, and exchanging health information to improve the quality of care of those affected. The LMS includes the MeasureSMS-MDA tool to improve drug supplies and MDA coverage rates in real-time (currently being trialed in urban Tanzania); the MeasureSMS-Morbidity tool to map morbidity, including lymphedema and hydrocele cases (initially piloted in rural Malawi and Ghana, then extended to Ethiopia, and scaled up to large urban areas in Bangladesh and Tanzania); the LyMSS-lymphedema management supply system app to improve distribution of treatments (trialed for 6 months in Malawi with positive impacts on health workers and patients); and the HealthFront app to improve education and training (in development with field trials planned). The current success and scale-up of the LMS by many community health workers in rural and urban settings across Africa and Asia highlights the value of this simple and practical suite of tools that empowers local health care workers to contribute to local, national, and global elimination of disease.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: mhealth, Lymphatic filariasis, LF, Elephantiasis, Neglected Tropical Diseases, NTDs, Community engagement, SMS, Smartphones, Apps
Subjects: Health Systems > Health Information systems
Divisions: Other
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 07:59
Last Modified: 27 Jan 2016 07:59
URI: http://ihi.eprints.org/id/eprint/3566

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