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Mobile Technology for Empowering Health Workers in Underserved Communities: New Approaches to Facilitate the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

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Stanton, Michelle ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1754-4894, Molineux, Andrew, Mackenzie, Charles and Kelly-Hope, Louise ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3330-7629 (2016) 'Mobile Technology for Empowering Health Workers in Underserved Communities: New Approaches to Facilitate the Elimination of Neglected Tropical Diseases.'. JMIR public health and surveillance, Vol 2, Issue 1, e2.

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Abstract

BACKGROUND
As global mobile phone penetration increases, direct health information communication from hard-to-reach communities is becoming commonplace. Mobile health (mHealth) tools that enable disease control programs to benefit from this information, while simultaneously empowering community members to take control of their own health, are vital to the goal of universal health care.

OBJECTIVE
Our aim was to highlight the development of the Liverpool mHealth Suite (LMS), which has been designed to address this need and improve health services for neglected tropical diseases being targeted for global elimination, such as lymphatic filariasis.

METHODS
The LMS has two main communication approaches-short message service and mobile phone apps-to facilitate real-time mass drug administration (MDA) coverage, reporting patient numbers, managing stock levels of treatment supplies, and exchanging health information to improve the quality of care of those affected.

RESULTS
The LMS includes the MeasureSMS-MDA tool to improve drug supplies and MDA coverage rates in real-time (currently being trialed in urban Tanzania); the MeasureSMS-Morbidity tool to map morbidity, including lymphedema and hydrocele cases (initially piloted in rural Malawi and Ghana, then extended to Ethiopia, and scaled up to large urban areas in Bangladesh and Tanzania); the LyMSS-lymphedema management supply system app to improve distribution of treatments (trialed for 6 months in Malawi with positive impacts on health workers and patients); and the HealthFront app to improve education and training (in development with field trials planned).

CONCLUSIONS
The current success and scale-up of the LMS by many community health workers in rural and urban settings across Africa and Asia highlights the value of this simple and practical suite of tools that empowers local health care workers to contribute to local, national, and global elimination of disease.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: LF; NTDs; SMS; apps; community engagement; elephantiasis; lymphatic filariasis; mhealth; neglected tropical diseases; smartphones
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 21.5 Allied health personnel. Allied health professions
W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 83 Telemedicine (General)
WA Public Health > Health Administration and Organization > WA 546 Local Health Administration. Community Health Services
WC Communicable Diseases > Tropical and Parasitic Diseases > WC 680 Tropical diseases (General)
Faculty: Department: Biological Sciences > Department of Tropical Disease Biology
Digital Object Identifer (DOI): https://doi.org/10.2196/publichealth.5064
Depositing User: Mary Creegan
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2016 14:49
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:12
URI: http://archive.lstmed.ac.uk/id/eprint/5992

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