The main problem, identified by India and Sri Lanka health workers, with the Rural technology and Business Incubator (RTBI) developed m-HealthSurvey mobile application, was in the look up content. The application allows for the user to search for a disease name by typing a few characters of the name. Upon selection predefined symptoms and signs are auto-displayed, giving the user the option to edit those values, if needed. The Health Workers using the application to send patient case information, expressed the need for full list of all possible symptoms and signs, associated with each disease; then all they have to do is delete and not enter. Entering is cumbersome for those user; especially in Sri Lanka, who are not familiar with the spelling of symptom and signs. Hence, some sort of a dictionary function or word prediction function has to be incorporated to make it easy.
The Health Workers collecting data in Sri Lanka are trained youth, in primary healthcare, belonging to the Sarvodaya Shanthi Sena Movement. Before the project they had not known each other. Now they have formed a social network to SMS each other of any health related issues or other. The same was not found with the Village Health Nurses and Publich Health Clinic staff in India. However, the Deputy Director of Health Services office, in Sivagangai, use www.way2sms.com, a SMS service offered (limited to 40 free SMS per day) in India, to schedule their monthly, weekly, or emergency meetings.
The project will be introducing a Common Alerting Protocol based SMS/Email/Web alert publishing module that is part of the Sahana Free and Open Source Software. In general both public health departments in India and Sri Lanka are in favor of an alerting/messaging system to communicate downstream with health workers at all layers.
From 15 – 23 June, Gordon Gow and I visit several, real-time biosurveillance program, pilot project sites in Kurunegala District, Sri Lanka and Sivaganaga District, State of Tamil Nadu, India. To learn more on the observations made, click to see the full report.
In addition reports provided by Sarvodaya and RTBI
1) Sarvodaya meetings report, Sri Lanka
2) RTBI meetings report, India