Pilot expands mHealth for patients in Kenya

The African Ministry of Health, African Medical and Research Foundation and Safaricom have developed a mobile healthcare program called Health Enablement and Learning Platform that aims to boost community health resources in a Kenyan village, according to an article on allAfrica.com. 

The pilot HELP e-learning initiative will train 100 health workers on administering first aid to patients in Mwingi, Kenya and the information will also serve as a point of reference in patient diagnosis, African Medical and Research Foundation e-learning program manager Caroline Mbindyo says in the article.

A primary goal of HELP is to avoid having patients like expectant mothers trek miles for healthcare needs and expand healthcare services in the remote village of Mwingi South, whose population of 5,000 residents is served by one health worker.

Such mobile healthcare technology solutions are being used around the world to help expectant mothers with all types of prenatal care. A Canadian mobile health innovation aims to prevent deaths and improve the health of expectant mothers, newborns and children throughout the developing world with an app that turns smartphones or tablets into diagnostic tools. A South African study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research's mHealth and uHealth finds that text messaging is a good medium to guide and support women through medical abortion, legal in South Africa.

"Text messages were chosen for coaching because they can be timed (i.e., sent at a particular time and date), and are a private means of communication if recipients have their own phones (which is largely the case in South Africa)," states the Journal article. 

The HELP system uses basic handsets and channels to deliver educational content and learning approaches to healthcare workers. The initial step involves in-person training for 10 days and then the workers use the mobile devices to text for help or access audio data. The system allows healthcare workers to interact on diagnosis.

The initiative will train a total of 300 community health volunteers in Samburu, Mwingi and Kibera, according to AllAfrica.

For more information:
- read the article in AllAfrica

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