RFID tracks infant pneumonia in Pakistan

We've written frequently about the increasing use of mobile technology to provide basic health services in developing countries, but often we're talking about nothing more advanced than text messaging. Well, this time, the technology is significantly more advanced.

More than 4,000 infants in Karachi, Pakistan, are wearing RFID-enabled bracelets as part of a study to measure the incidence of pneumonia. It's a passive RFID system, requiring health workers to scan the bracelets with PDAs or mobile phones when the children come in for immunizations or well-baby visits, but it also has improved physician response time whenever one of the tiny patients exhibits symptoms of pneumonia. As a bonus, a central server holds each baby's medical records.

The program, called Interactive Alerts for Childhood Pneumonia, was designed in part by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and is funded by a Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant.

To learn more about this program:
- read this RFID Journal story