Mali has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the world. There are roughly 111 deaths for every 1000 live births in the country and the under-5 mortality rate is 191 out of every 1000 children. The need for early detection of diseases and stronger local health structures led to the creation of Pesinet, a non-profit that uses mobile technology to provide regular health checkups and affordable health insurance for young children in Mali's capital, Bamako.

Roughly 600 children are currently enrolled in the program in the neighborhood of Bamako Coura, under the care of four Pesinet agents (each covering around 150 children). Pesinet combines both early warning systems and insurance. Families pay 500 CF a month for each enrolled child; the payments cover doctor examinations and half the cost of any medications the child needs if he or she gets sick.

Enrolled children are tested weekly for symptoms of illness such as fever, cough, diarrhea, low weight, or vomiting by community health workers who enter data from each visit into a custom-designed Java application on their phone.  The data is sent via GPRS to an online database. Doctors at local community health centers monitor the patient data for sudden changes in health. If changes occur, the community health workers receive an alert on their phones and then go back, in turn, to alert the family that the doctor needs to give the child a checkup.

12.19.11 AnneryanHeatwole Health

Mohini Bhavsar was a summer 2010 research intern at Shortly after, she volunteered with TulaSalud in Guatemala to observe what it takes to implement and scale a mobile health program.

Innovation in mobile health is not quite as widespread in Latin America as it is in Africa and Asia. Of the m-health programs in Latin America, little sharing of region-specific strategies has taken place.

TulaSalud is an organization based in Guatemala that is leveraging ICT -- specifically mobile phones -- to improve the delivery of health care services for indigenous communities. Through this case study, we hope to share some of what TulaSalud has learned over the years. 

TulaSalud partners with the Ministry of Health and the Cobán School of Nursing and receives support from the Tula Foundation based in Canada. The organization's vision is to use ICT and mobile technology to reduce maternal and infant mortality and to monitor disease outbreaks in the remote highlands of Alta Verapaz. Using mobile phones, TulaSalud has been able to improve the flow of information between health professionals based in hospitals and community health workers (CHWs) in remote villages.

Alta Verapaz has the largest rural and poor indigenous population in the region with limited access to health care services. In an area with one million inhabitants, 93% are indigenous and share the highest burden of maternal mortality.

TulaSalud's community health workers, known as tele-facilitadores, use mobile phones to:

03.09.11 MohiniBhavsar Health

In this how-to, we test out two systems for SMS incident mapping. Incident mapping is a simple but powerful concept that does what it says - using SMS to report a given incidence and mapping the data geographically.

It has been used in various scenarios ranging from reports from natural disasters to tracking violent crime, citizen reporting in elections.

Ushahidi, a platform for map and time-based visualizations of text reports, has been used most prominently in crisis mapping. The first instance of Ushahidi tracked the post-election violence in Kenya in 2007, closely followed by an instance covering outbreaks of xenophobic violence in South Africa in early 2008. Following the Haiti earthquake in early 2010, an Ushahidi deployment at Tufts University provided a platform for aggregating, translating and disseminating incident reports and requests for assistance. Ushahidi is an open-source  PHP/Javascript platform.

05.03.10 MelissaLoudon Advocacy Citizen Media Democratic Participation Disaster & Humanitarian Relief Health