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Making Health Care More Accessible to Rural Communities in Waslala, Nicaragua Using Low-Cost Telecommunications

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5 Author(s)
Singh, Pritpal ; Villanova Univ., Villanova, PA, USA ; Kulkarni, S. ; Keech, E. ; McDermott-Levy, R.
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In rural Nicaragua, access to health care professionals and medical facilities is limited. Minimally trained community health workers (CHWs) and understaffed clinical outposts serve rural communities. Rural residents rarely see a doctor except in emergencies. This can lead to situations where treatable medical condition can become life threatening. The goal of our project is to preempt such situations through: better training of CHWs, using cellular short messages (SMS) to encode and transmit basic health information such as vital signs and health symptoms to a monitoring computer, algorithms on the monitoring computer to recognize emergent conditions, system generated notification informing the community health worker of the appropriate response related to the inputted vital signs and symptoms and storage of medical histories for future use. An important consideration is to make the project entirely self-sustainable through entrepreneurial means and to impart enough knowledge base to the participants to preserve the momentum even as the initial promoters' active involvement gradually ceases.

Published in:

Global Humanitarian Technology Conference (GHTC), 2011 IEEE

Date of Conference:

Oct. 30 2011-Nov. 1 2011