Did you know?
IMA World Health/Staff
As budgets shrink worldwide, it’s increasingly important to find efficiencies in global health development.
Through a grant from USAID’s Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Control Program led by RTI International, IMA World Health is supporting the Tanzania Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MOHSW) to develop, test and implement new innovations that promote greater program efficiencies for NTD control.For years, the MOHSW in Tanzania has been working to develop web-mobile and desktop software to allow census, drug inventory and other important information to be collected and saved in a central location. This technology has the potential to improve data collection and reporting from the current system which uses paper forms transported from health facilities to a central location, either by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, or vehicles when available. The process is time consuming and the results are often not accurate because of lost or incomplete information due to clerical error.
With funding from USAID and support from IMA, the national program recently conducted a pilot study using mobile phones for data collection with wonderful results. All locations in the study reported with successful real-time results.
Census data collected via mobile phone allows for more accurate estimates of medicine needed during a Mass Drug Administration (MDA). In addition, coverage rates can be reported in real time during MDA, allowing managers to take appropriate action where needed by tracking medicine consumption at the village level. As a result, the MDA is conducted more efficiently, drug supplies are used rationally and the program reaches the highest level of effectiveness in protecting the people of Tanzania from debilitating Neglected Tropical Diseases.
“It is very exciting,” said Mrs. Tochi, 55, one of the community drug distributors who helped to conduct the census. “Entering names and age, etc. in this phone feels like a game. I just don’t want to stop doing this. Thank you [to] my grandson for teaching me this. You see—I am not too old to learn new technology!”
Based on this initial success, the MOHSW intends to expand the use of mobile phone technology for use in upcoming MDAs.
IMA would also like to thank Rain Concert-India, National Institute for Medical Research-NIMR-Tanzania, and Imperial College-London for their support with this project.
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