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 Monday, December 05, 2011

Josh Nesbit was a student at Stanford University preparing for medical school, when two conversations with a doctor and a community health worker in Malawi changed the course of his life.

I was doing HIV research at a clinic in Malawi, in 2007, when I met a doctor who was covering a catchment area of 100,000 people single-handedly, and a community health worker who walked 35 miles to the hospital each week to hand-deliver patient reports”, said Nesbit. But he also realized that he had a better mobile signal at that community health worker's home than he did in Palo Alto, California. It became clear to him that this new mobile infrastructure could be harnessed to bridge gaps and coordinate health care services.

Inspired by volunteer village health workers in rural Malawi, Medic Mobile was launched in 2009 by Josh Nesbit and three co-founders while they were still students. According to the organization's website, Medic Mobile develops technologies such as easy-to-use medical record systems and SIM card applications to help health workers communicate and coordinate patient care, and provide diagnostics using low-cost mobile technology. Medic Mobile believes that well-coordinated and connected health systems can save lives.

In June 2011, they announced the first SIM card application for health care, created with support from The Maternal Health Task Force and PSI. These applications run on any GSM device, from the simplest US$15 handsets to smart phones. Using SIM apps, they plan to bring structured information exchange to the “last mile”, supporting health workers and patients. Today, Mobile Medic has over 30 partnerships in 15 countries to improve health care delivery in extremely resource poor conditions.

An article on the website of Global Pulse, the international health journal of the American Medical Student Association, cites World Health Organization (WHO) estimates a shortfall of 4.3 million health care workers in the developing world. Medic Mobile believes that the intelligent deployment of mobile technology can help improve access and outcomes, even with this lack of health professionals.

Mobile Media now works with more than 30 international and local partners. The group has established programs in 70% of Malawi’s districts and implemented projects in twelve countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The results continued - drug stock reporting improved from less than 35% to over 80% across 10 districts in Malawi, costs decreased four times and efficiency increased 112 times for community-level treatment support.

(Source: AudienceScapes)
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