How Are Smartphones Helping Rural Healthcare?

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We're talking about a telephone, a simple phone, that may have some features that may have just the ability to make a phone call or send a text message. That simple functionality allows now us to move from complex, heavy ledgers, which frontline health workers carry around from home to home documenting their interactions writing down birth weights, writing down growth of young infants in these catalogs, which fundamentally made it very challenging to actually use that information in a productive public health way.

What the phone allows us to do is automate a lot of those processes. So, someone can text message to a central server, the ID number, and the weight of a child on a regular basis as she does her community rounds, doing something as simple as growth monitoring. And now you can start to automatically detect when a child is growth faltering, or experiencing the precursor stages of stunting which have life long implications in terms of their health status, in terms of their ability to thrive as a full productive citizen of a particular country.

And so that basic function of having these computer systems automate a lot of the processes which were paper based is I think the first breakthrough that we've seen in m-health.