Mobiles and Mothers Against Malaria in Mali

In a project that was first announced in the summer of 2011, female community health workers (CHW) will be using cell phones to help track, prevent, and treat malaria in parts of Bambako, Mali. The expected  outcomes include :

  • A mobile application in local language for data collection
  • 50 community healthworkers trained on mobile data collection
  • 10 medical staff trained on using ICT and data analysis
  • Child mortality in the two target areas reduced by 30%
Women: Community Health Workers
Additionally, each person is supposed to be linked to their own client number that can be tracked by the health centers and used by the CHW on follow-up visits. It’s important to be using native women who are already accepted ant trusted in their communities and this should create a much higher outcome of patient information.  These women will also have the advantage of being able to ensure the safety of the program and encourage people who would not typically visit a health facility to do so.   It is hoped that this will also decrease the cost of malaria prevention because it will be much quicker to collect information (by using the CHWs) and easier to synthesize information (using SMS which can be input into a system much easier than by using paper methods).

My concerns with the use of cell phones deal with what we have discussed in class and the articles we have been reading this past week.  If these are poor neighborhoods, how do we ensure that the cell phones can stay charged, or even have the capacity to send the messages (is there service available in these areas).  Additionally, from previous research, I know that the use of individualized numbers is not always the best idea because people lose track of them, especially if they are not used to them and they have six children, all of whom have different IDs.


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