Computer giant, Hewlett-Packard (HP), and nonprofit mobile health organisation, Positive Innovation for the Next Generation (PING), have teamed up to fight malaria in the Chobe area, with the use of mobile technology.
The yearlong clinical trial in Botswana is expected to equip doctors and nurses with Palm Pre 2 smart phones and an application that is designed to collect information about malaria outbreaks. Data will be collected through an application that stores pictures, video, audio and GPS information, all of which can be stored and visually monitored in a larger database.
PING Director of Operations, Katy Digovich, told the Sunday Standard that their partnership is focused on addressing health and development problems by not only using technology in an innovative way, but also by creating more problem solvers in Botswana.
“This system has taken the reporting and analyzing process, which normally ranged from 3-5 weeks, and shortened it to a matter of a few entries on a Smartphone and hitting the ‘send’ button. Data is now aggregated in real time on the backend, and graphs and reports are generated in a matter of seconds,” she said.
“By combining our socially active core with innovation and business acumen from HP, and the scale of government organizations, we can achieve the greatest opportunity for lasting social change,” she said.
Digovich said this innovation will help officials and doctors deter a huge malaria outbreak as it begins spreading through an area.
“At the time of a malaria outbreak, health-care workers can notify the appropriate health authorities via a text message instantaneously,” she said.
Digovich added that the health workers will be able to report back to the Ministry and also report real time disease outbreak data, tag it with a GPS and blast out SMS alerts to all other health care workers in the district and to follow up with individual cases and screen neighbours utilizing the GPS functionality.
Although this project pilot initially focused on Malaria, PING and HP have made plans with the Ministry of Health to expand it to 15 additional diseases, with multi-drug-resistant TB being the next disease to be added. “As the program expands, HP plans to use this technology to track tuberculosis and conduct additional HIV testing,” she said.
Digovich said the health care environment in Botswana combined with the high cell phone density and all the different stakeholders coming together and committing to mobile health will make Botswana the perfect test country to try out mobile interventions first as a pilot and then to implement these interventions at the national level.
PING’s programme team conducts IT mentoring programs with high school and college age local youth to focus on a more long term solution of building local capacity to continue to monitor and update current systems and design and implement new applications to support the local government.