“What we need to save a lot more lives is not medical information but coordination. It’s about communicating and making sure that every child in every community gets vaccinations, that every pregnant woman gets access to basic care. That is the world our team is fighting for.”
Sub-Issue: Health Technology There are more than one billion people in the world who may never see a doctor in their lifetime. Community health workers are their lifeline to vaccines, prenatal care, and treatment of disease. These workers, many of whom are volunteers, also live and work many miles from the nearest doctors, clinics, and hospitals, and travel on foot.
The Skoll Awardee: Josh Nesbit was a pre-medical student at Stanford in 2007 when he spent a summer in Malawi working with a rural hospital in Malawi treating malaria. Patients walked as far as 100 miles the hospital, which had just one doctor. Community health workers walked 35 miles to deliver reports. While in the field one day with a health worker, he realized that he had and stronger cell phone reception than he was used to in California. This shifted his focus from medicine to mobile health. He returned to the hospital in 2008 to pilot a six-month project with health workers, building an information platform using cell phones, a laptop, and text-messaging technology. The healthcare workers used mobile phones to register and stay in touch with patients, share information and get consultations with staff at regional hospitals and clinics. Launched in partnership with a technology company, the Medic Mobile system became an independent organization within a few years. Applications include monitoring outbreaks of infectious diseases, alert systems for vaccinations and maternal and child health care, tracking individual patient health indicators such as blood glucose levels, management of medical appointments, and managing stocks of critical medicines. At the time of the Award, more than 7,800 community health workers, supported by 39 partners in 21 countries, were using Medic Mobile’s tools.
Impact since joining the portfolio in 2014:
- Developed support for use in new cases including malnutrition monitoring and treatment adherence in malaria and clubfoot.
- Four uses were in trials in 2014, including glucose monitoring, appointment management, prenatal care, and stocks of crucial drugs.
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