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Worldwide mobile health care saving lives even in our own backyard

Recent studies in developing countries have been conducted that have resulted in a reduced mortality rate of newborn children and their mothers. These study results stating that mobile technologies can indeed improve infant and mother health care worldwide can also be applied here in the States in low-income areas with community health centers taking part in offering mobile health care to their patients.

According to global mobile statistics, 87% of the world’s population have a mobile subscription. 76% of those global subscriptions are in the developing world. After realizing the breadth of the mobile revolution going on globally, Nadim Mahmud co-founded Medic Mobile “in the hopes of building new models of health care support networks from simple, SMS-based platforms.” Through this technological pathway, Medic Mobile has shown these results of mobile device health care usage:

  • Establishing emergency care for infants and laboring mothers
  • Sending prenatal care instruction through text messaging
  • Enabling home-based antenatal care
  • Tracking community immunizations
  • Sending community-wide announcements detailing clinic locations (Mahmud’s article found here)

Likewise in Ghana, access to mobile products is rising. By 2014, it is predicted that 82% of Africans will have mobile access. Several different programs have been established in Ghana in response to this trend. The PDA project established in 2004 was the forerunner of using mobile apps and smartphones to track immunizations of registered children throughout the country’s communities. This technology allows for community health centers to keep a record of the children’s immunizations and eventually leads to continuing health care support in all areas of the child’s health.

In 2010, the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) initiative in Ghana created a project called Mobile Midwife. Mobile Midwife “aims to improve antenatal and neonatal care among the rural poor and to empower women to take control over their own health.” This program uses cell phones to send text or voice messages to pregnant women educating them about prenatal health care and encouraging them to seek care. The care continues after the child is born. Information on childhood diseases and immunizations is sent to the mothers using this same technology. One of the results of this program is the rise of child immunizations by 90%.

If developing countries are latching on to this technology, we in the United States can jump on the bandwagon, too. Community health workers can use technology to disseminate information to their female patients before issues come up. Prenatal care is an important part of pregnancy, and pregnant women can easily be educated about it using mobile technology. Community Health Centers can send out immunization schedules and reminders to new parents. Apps, such as PrevCarePlus by Decide Mobility, have built in alert systems to remind women of preventative steps they can take to help assure good health care. These apps, along with community health workers, can raise the level of health care in this country just as it has been raised in countries such as India and Ghana.

 

 
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