My name is Josh Nesbit, and I'm an undergraduate at Stanford. I'm currently at St. Gabriel's Hospital in Central Malawi, implementing a project aimed at expanding the role of CHWs in the catchment area (mobilesinmalawi.blogspot.com). The hospital has enrolled over 600 CHWs - all are volunteers. Many of the CHWs are recruited through the hospital's ART program.
I'm here with a laptop, 100 second-hand phones, and an open-source program, FrontlineSMS - which acts as a central SMS hub, coordinating the text-based communications network.
The pilot's been running for five weeks, and we're seeing functionality develop organically from the hospital's and CHWs' needs: the hospital now follows up on distant patients, ART and TB drug adherence is tracked, remote medical emergencies are reported and responded to by a mobile team, CHWs check medication dosages before administering drugs in the villages, communities’ medical questions are fielded, HIV/AIDS support groups effectively organize, and CHWs are alerted of mobile clinics’ and testing services’ schedules. Certain 'keyword' functions allow CHWs to get immediate responses re: drug dosages and proper administration; CHWs also receive additional communication credit through an automated system. Most of the communication, however, is free-form, linking the hospital to remote communities' needs - and connecting the hospital to their patients, via CHWs.
I am working to organize the healthcare data - actions taken by medical staff and CHWs as a result of communication - so that it will be useful to prospective NGOs, clinics, and implementers. Any ideas? I'm on the ground for another two weeks, before I return to Stanford.