01 July 2010

This time for Africa!

Read about a very interesting project in Africa, under the Millennium Project initiative, a new health application based on mobile phone Child count+ which allows community health centres to monitor every single child in their area and follow up on the progress. With networks now all in place, such ICT initiatives are set to explode all over the continent. For more particulars check this.
 Matt Berg, Director of ICT for the Millennium Villages project, indicated that, as of this year, all MVs are wired for Internet and mobile phone service, thanks in large part to partners Zain and Ericsson. These systems are connected to the larger fiber networks now in place through much of Africa. “The infrastructure is in place,” Berg said, and “Africa is ready to code.”
The ChildCount+ Goals

Register every child – Create a “living” registry of all children under five in a community. This list provides the basis for CHWs to monitor the health status of their children.
Screen for malnutrition every 90 days for children from 6 months to 5 years. When a child with acute malnutrition is detected, the program provides support for Plumpy’nut based malnutrition treatment.
Monitor for malaria and diarrhea – track and treat the two major preventable causes of death in children under five. ChildCount+ provides support for home based malaria RDT testing and ACT dosing, and oral rehydration salt (ORS) usage.
Full child immunization support - Group all children in monthly age groups to know when a particular immunization is due. Record all immunizations and follow up with all children who are behind with their immunization schedule. Help manage vaccination campaigns.
Register all newborns and record when child deaths occur to enable local CHWs and communities to understand why.

The system can even be used to transfer wages to CHWs and monitor their productivity. 
It shouldn't be too hard to get similar programmes underway in India.Though the Minister of State for Health Dinesh Trivedi just went on television complaining about the red tapism in his own ministry -

"Roadblocks are that these people (bureaucrats) are not innovative. They don't understand technology. Young people fresh out of college would be able to run the Health Ministry better that these bureaucrats," he said. 
So will we catch up with Africa someday on public health programmes?

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