public health

Mobile Mapping for Rapid Field Assessment of Health Infrastructure in Indonesia

Posted by cycadme on Oct 01, 2010

The rural population of eastern Indonesia generally has limited access to health services due to rugged topography, poor roads and limited health resources. Moreover, there are no comprehensive audits of health infrastructure at the district level resulting in poor coordination of health resource allocation. This project is using mobile field data collection techniques to identify gaps in health services to enable more effective and equitable delivery of scarce health resources to remote and poor regions. 

The study tested the assumption that recent changes in mobile mapping and GIS technologies have made them appropriate and effective tools for public health applications in rural, developing contexts.  Three primary factors seen to be facilitating more widespread use were: (1) decreasing hardware costs, (2) the technological convergence of GPS/mobile-phone/PDA (personal digital assistant) hardware and (3) the development of free/open-source spatial data software.  

Health department staff from West Timor learning mobile field data collection tools.

Mobile Mapping for Rapid Field Assessment of Health Infrastructure in Indonesia data sheet 2645 Views
Countries: Indonesia

Mobile Quizzes For HIV/AIDS Awareness: Zain and Text to Change

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on May 18, 2010
Mobile Quizzes For HIV/AIDS Awareness: Zain and Text to Change data sheet 6193 Views

In Kenya, a partnership between the non-profit organization Text to Change and the telecommunications company Zain used SMS mobile quizzes to keep Zain’s employees up-to-date on the latest HIV/AIDS information.

For four weeks in November and December of 2009, Zain’s Kenyan employees were part of a pilot program for SMS mobile quizzes. Employees received three multiple choice questions each week that focused on different aspects of HIV/AIDS such as prevention and treatment. The quizzes also directed participants to testing centers in order to learn their HIV/AIDS status. Says Bas Hoefman, co-founder and managing director of Text to Change,  the choice to partner their mobile program with a telecommunications company was logical: “We thought, ‘why isn’t Zain using its own products – mobile telephony and SMS – to educate its own employees?’  Use your own product for your own employees.”

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

Use interactive quizzes to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among Zain employees in Kenya.


Brief description of the project: 

Text to Change partnered with telecommunications company Zain to run an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. The pilot used interactive SMS quizzes based on Text to Change's existing SMS platform to get employees to answer questions about HIV/AIDS, and to encourage them to get tested for HIV/AIDS. The pilot ran for four weeks in November and December of 2009, and had an overall response rate of 43%.

Text to Change offers interactive mobile SMS quizzes, combining knowledge transfer with incentives in the form of airtime. The SMS Quiz is designed to raise and help resolve key issues around local development programs.

Target audience: 

The target audience was 506 Zain employees in Kenya.


Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 
  • The 43% response rate was considered encouraging, and the fact that there was a 10% increase in employees who sought health services during the course of the pilot.
  • Text to Change also found that the partnership was a good foundation for setting up telecommunications contacts in order to launch future projects outside of their home-base country, Uganda.


What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

The pilot faced several challenges:

  • Employees didn't want their co-workers to see them going to the on-site testing center because of the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of some questions, Text to Change had to ensure the privacy of the employees' responses.
  • Adapting Text to Change's technology from Uganda (where the company is based) to run in Kenya.

Innovations in Mobile-Based Public Health Information Systems in the Developing World: An example from Rwanda

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 23, 2009
Innovations in Mobile-Based Public Health Information Systems in the Developing World: An example from Rwanda data sheet 2845 Views
Jonathan Donner
Publication Date: 
Jan 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This paper will examine new applications of mobile and wireless technologies to the challenges of public health in the developing world, particularly the Least Developed Countries (LDCs). After a brief review of initiatives underway in Africa and India, the bulk of the paper will describe a national HIV/AIDS information system currently under development in Rwanda.

This system relies on a combination of internet technology and traditional telephony (both fixed and wireless) to connect even the most remote rural health clinics. Potential merits of this system will be examined in light of Heeks’ (2002) review of information systems projects in developing nations. This analysis will suggest that certain fundamental properties of wireless/mobile technologies are likely to increase the efficacy, scalability, and sustainability of public health information systems in low teledensity settings.

The paper applies both to the “mobile technologies for disadvantaged persons” as well as to the “doctors communicating with doctors” tracks. However, given the severity of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and given its particular impact on the LDCs, it is important to consider these applications as critical tools in what can only be described as one of the biggest and most protracted “health care emergencies” the world has ever confronted.

Smartphones for Output-Based Aid

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 02, 2009
Smartphones for Output-Based Aid data sheet 1457 Views
Melissa Ho
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Providing effective health care in poor countries is an essential component to economic development and poverty reduction. Unfortunately donors supporting this endeavor often find that resources given are not matched by desired gains.

The output-based aid (OBA) model of financing seeks to address this by paying healthcare providers directly for services rendered instead of paying for the service provision up front. However, the program management is information intensive, necessitating much paperwork to track and reimburse payment claims. Smartphones (mobile phones with advanced features) have the potential to alleviate this burden.

Based on recent work in Uganda we have identified some of the constraints and realities of the context in which these devices could improve the quality and speed of payment claims. In collaboration with Marie Stopes International and Microcare, we propose to deploy a number of smartphones for use in the Uganda OBA project, with dual goals of reducing claim processing time and improving communication between the health care providers and the management agency running the OBA project.