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February 26, 2010, Chapel Hill, NC—IntraHealth International is launching a partnership with Hope Phones and FrontlineSMS:Medic to provide mobile phones to African health workers who offer maternal and child health services, including obstetric consultations, safe deliveries, family planning, and malaria and HIV prevention and treatment.
The group is running a national campaign to collect used phones, which Hope Phones will trade in to purchase low-cost phones for the project. Mobile phones will be made available at no cost to participating health centers. Local health committees have agreed to cover the costs of airtime.
Health workers equipped with mobile phones can transmit and receive up-to-the-minute health information that can mean the difference between life and death in an emergency, improving the quality and effectiveness of health care in underserved locations.
IntraHealth and Senegal’s Ministry of Health are using a simple mobile information system based on FrontlineSMS:Medic, a free, open-source software platform that enables large-scale, two-way text messaging. The software was customized for the project in partnership with RAES, the African Network for Health Education. Providers send health data via cell phones to a centrally-supported automated response server in Dakar, where it is analyzed by Ministry of Health staff.
“This allows us to increase the impact of health workers exponentially,” said Rodio Diallo, IntraHealth’s country representative in Senegal. “With cell phones and a well constructed health information system, we will be faster and more efficient, saving lives and building local capacity.”
Hope Phones is the brainchild of FrontlineSMS:Medic co-founder Josh Nesbit. “Cell phones provide access to emergency medical care, health information, transport services, and clinic resources,” said Nesbit. “One used Blackberry will allow us to purchase three to five cell phones for health workers, bringing more families onto the health grid via SMS.”
Hope Phones provides free shipping, and the value of recycled phones is tax-deductible. Download a shipping label, or request bulk collection materials from http://hopephones.org/get-collection-materials/ (include “IntraHealth” in "Organization" field).
IntraHealth International is a global health nonprofit that champions the critical role of health workers in health and development. For over 30 years, IntraHealth has empowered health workers to better serve communities in need, fostering local solutions to health care challenges by improving health worker performance, strengthening health systems, harnessing technology, and leveraging partnerships. The nonprofit’s work is supported and funded by the US Agency for International Development, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, private foundations, corporations and individuals.
Contact: Laura Hoemeke