Phase 2: The Impact of SMS Communication

In the second phase of Kilifi Kids’ mHealth program, mobile phones are being provided to community health workers (CHWs) in parts of the Kilifi District.  There are several scenarios where we anticipate that these phones will have great impacts on the care the CHWs can provide Kilifi residents.

Outreach testing and vaccination days are events where medical treatment or testing can be done on a large scale.  The providers go into a community and provide either preventative care or test for illnesses that impact large segments of the population.  Kilifi Kids has used this method for providing de-worming medication. In order for these community events to be successful it’s necessary for the community members to know about the events and to attend.  Text messages will be sent to CHWs letting them know when and where testing and vaccinations will be taking place, enabling them to spread the word to community members.

Many of the residents of the Kilifi District live in rural areas and do not have access to motorized transportation on a regular basis.  When a person has been injured or is very sick and is unable to walk to the medical center, there had not been a reliable way to communicate the need for help.  Sometimes, a friend or family member would have seek help on foot. With the provision of mobile phones to CHWs, the community health worker can send a text message to the medical center indicating that medical transport is needed, and someone will be dispatched to come get the sick individual and take him to the hospital.  Using a phone to call for help instead of going in person dramatically decreases the amount of time that passes before the patient gets treated.

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