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 Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Kenya government in partnership with HP East Africa and Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) launched a project that will enable health workers in the field to detect and manage disease outbreaks through smart phones.

The move follows a donation of 250 HP Palm Pre-Smart Phones which are the first of their kind in the continent that will facilitate early detection and response to communicable public health threats in the country through mobile health monitoring technology.

The phones are part of 1 million U.S. dollar worth of technological support that HP will be extending to the government through the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) program.

Director of Public Health and Sanitation at the Ministry of Public Health Shanaaz Sharif said the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system which has been developed in the past two months will simplify health workers' task of reporting in real time, health events that occur at the local level. "Due to technological and personnel constraints only about 5,000 of the 7,000 health facilities in the country report and maintain a record of health events on a real time basis, but now any health worker with a simple mobile handset will be enable to report", Sharif told journalists in Nairobi.

He said members of the public will also be allowed to report on health events but only through the internet. "The IDSR will enable the government to collect information in real time to help in the decision making for the appropriate public health action intervention. Mobile phones will be used to transmit raw data and then the data will entered, stored, analyzed and interpreted in real time via the computer", Sharif said.

The project will enable health workers to collect data through a web operating system application (webOS), upload the same, analyze and share the data with organizations like National Aids and Sexually Transmitted Infections Control Program (Nascop). "When health workers at the local level suspect of any disease they are expected to report this via the system to the national level so that public health officials to analyze, interpret and compare the data with prevailing trends", Sharif said.

(Source: XinhuaNews)

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