People delivering healthcare deserve the best software
The technology boom means that while many rural areas around the world lack basic health coverage, they have excellent mobile phone network coverage. This is the observation that medical student Josh Nesbit made whilst working for a summer in a rural hospital in Malawi. He witnessed patients who had travelled up to 100 miles to see a doctor, and health workers walking over 30 miles to deliver medical reports by hand. He noticed an opportunity for mobile phone-based technology to make a huge difference in the lives of rural Malawians.
Nesbit went on to co-found Medic Mobile, aiming to increase and improve the delivery of vital healthcare in underserved communities worldwide. By developing mobile-enabled services, Medic Mobile supports community health workers, staff at community clinics, ministers of health and others to monitor diseases, stay in touch with families, send emergency alerts to regional hospitals, and convey critical data to key decision-makers at health ministries. Medic Mobile now works across 23 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, supporting over 16,000 health workers.
In the Rwenzori Mountains of western Uganda, Kikanda Batelemao, a community health worker, had to travel the 35 miles each way from the small hospital where he works, to the remote mountain communities he serves several times a day to deliver health reports by hand. Medic Mobile has drastically reduced how often he must make this journey and improved his ability to care for his patients. One of his patients, Florence Mbambu is pregnant with her third child. With the use of the Medic Mobile app, Kikanda can register and track the progress of her pregnancy. The app will then send automatic reminders to her phone about vital prenatal care and her appointments at the hospital. Kikanda can inform staff back at the hospital of Florence’s progress via the app and they are able to calculate important health information, such as her due date. Kikanda is then able to tell Florence when to leave her village to give her enough time to reach the hospital for her delivery.
Before Medic Mobile reached Uganda, only 28% of Ugandan women had prenatal care. That figure has now risen to 48%. Women are now far less likely to lose a child or suffer potentially life-threatening complications. For Florence, the benefits are clear: “I pray that Medic Mobile should come to everywhere in Uganda,” she says, “because it assists us women in giving birth to healthy children.”
Medic Mobile’s toolkit supports multiple languages and works with or without connectivity. Their tools run on basic phones, smartphones, tablets, and computers, supporting people doing critical work in communities, health facilities, and management offices. Through something as seemingly simple as an app, Medic Mobile are able to connect health workers, community members, doctors and administrators in order to strengthen the healthcare system and ultimately save lives.