Using old mobile phones, health workers log the latest local pregnancies, in remotes part of efforts in Rwanda to boost maternal health through a monitoring programme.This has already helped slash infant and maternal mortality rates.The database known as RapidSMS, was set up in 2009 with the backing of the UN children’s agency Unicef and underpins a medical monitoring programme for pregnancies and babies aged up to two years.
In India too, organizations such as World Health Partners (WHP) use technology to provide access to health to those who need it the most. WHP’s healthcare networks are branded as Sky networks. By joining the network, health care professionals can connect with a network of colleagues, including local healthcare workers, nurses, doctors, specialists, laboratories, and pharmacists, from whom they can seek and receive referrals, including via telemedicine consultations. Sky network providers also agree to meet certain quality of care standards and to provide essential preventive care services including family planning.
In January of this year, the Government of India launched a nationwide mobile health programme designed to train community health workers and to directly reach millions of women within three years. The programme is powered by MOTECH, a robust yet simple-to-use mobile health (mHealth) technology developed by Grameen Foundation, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The interventions of technology in the healthcare system in countries such as Rwanda and India could very well be the catalyst that will positively change the way healthcare services are made available.