Article

New Studies from FHI360 TechLab on Use of ICT in Environment & Health Initiatives

    Author:
  • Emma Schwartz
  • July 14, 2014
New Studies from FHI360 TechLab on Use o

At FHI 360, information and communications technology (ICT) is used to boost the impact of all practice areas — increasing access to information, improving operation, and facilitating interaction among many different stakeholders.

In Uganda, severe climate change threatens ecosystems and the livelihoods of the populations depending on them. The Climate Change Adaptation and ICT (CHAI) project, funded by the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), is designed to strengthen local agro-pastoral community capacity to adapt and persevere in spite of environmental strain.

In response to water shortages and the subsequent crop and livestock losses, CHAI tested and deployed a set of ICT tools and interventions including a weather data collection and dissemination system, livestock and crop market information system, and mechanisms adaptation information broadcast via SMS. Initial survey findings indicated that the information received through the systems improved farmers’ ability to fight climate-induced water challenges. The project is detailed in full in this case study, which includes an outline of technologies and platforms employed along with associated materials and resources.

Another recently shared case study details the organization’s use of ICT in South Africa to enhance health practices, specifically in regards to improving information access at the point of care.

Health professionals in rural areas often have little access to the up-to-date, locally relevant clinical information needed to help in prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care of patients. The Mobile Health Information System (MHIS) is implemented to increase access through the delivery of standard treatment guidelines and operating procedures, protocols, guidelines, and other materials via smartphones and tablets.

Since deployment, TechLab has successfully demonstrated the system’s effectiveness, and an evaluation performed by the School of Clinical Care Sciences of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University has also highlighted favorable results. The University study found that accessing health information using the MHIS at the point of care assisted all nurses and more than 80% of doctors in making accurate diagnoses, and all nurses and over 92% of doctors in prescribing correct treatment.

Given such positive outcomes, the Eastern Cape Department of Health has decided to expand the system throughout the province with the purchase of 1,000 smartphones and tablets in order to provide wider access to the platform.

Learn more about the project here.    

For more information about the above initiatives, contact Berhane Gebru via email: bgebru@fhi360.org​

 

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