GUIDE: Getting Medical Information into the Hands of Community Health Workers

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 10, 2010
GUIDE: Getting Medical Information into the Hands of Community Health Workers data sheet 5046 Views

For community health workers who are far from medical libraries and urban centers, staying up-to-date on the latest medical advancements and disease treatments can be difficult. GUIDE, developed by AED-Satellife, is a conversion and content management system that transforms medical literature into HTML forms that are easily accessible over a mobile phone. 

GUIDE currently runs on smartphones (Samsung I780) in a pilot program in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. For the last year, 50 nurses from three different branches of local hospitals have used mobiles to stay up to date on medical developments. 

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The projects goals are:

  • Create a mobile library of medical information that is accessible anywhere, at any time, over a mobile phone
  • Change existing attitudes about technology in developing countries 
  • Create a self-sustaining medical information system


Brief description of the project: 

In rural locations, doctors and nurses are often acting in isolation, separated from the medical community and easy access to information. GUIDE essentially takes medical and treatment documents and makes them accessible for users with small devices by converting the documents into HTML, which makes the documents legible on any browser that supports HTML. 

Target audience: 

The target audience is community health workers.

Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 
  • Rapid pick-up of the project by the community health care workers
  • A trickle-down dissemination effect as the nurses with phones shared the resources with other health workers who were not part of the pilot
  • Partnerships with local organizations who provided documents for conversation, and local technical support


What did not work? What were the challenges?: 
  • Overcoming sexist views about women and technology
  • The original plan to put the program on PDAs was scrapped, and was moved to smartphones in order to take advantage of Internet access
  • Navigating health buraucracies in the implementation


Berhane Gebru: Disease Surveillance with Mobile Phones in Uganda

Posted by dsasaki on Jul 30, 2008

Berhane Gebru is Program Director at AED-SATELLIFE, an international organization which aims to strengthen health care in resource-poor countries by providing disease surveillance solutions and health information distribution to rural healthcare workers using mobile technology. He took some time out from this week's meeting on mHealth and Mobile Telemedicine to describe SATELLIFE's current project in Uganda which equips rural health workers with PDA's and GPRS wireless access points in order to transmit their health data collection to the ministry of health. We also discuss an upcoming project, currently being field-tested, which would allow those same health care workers to make their disease surveillance reports using simple mobile phones.[Editor's note:  A full case study of AED Satellife's project is written up in our recent report "Wireless Technology for Social Change," commissioned by the UNF/Vodafone Group Foundation Technology Partnership]

At the bottom of the post you can download an audio recording of our entire 20-minute conversation. This is an edited and abridged transcription.

Berhane Gebru