New York Times (05.13.12) - Thursday, May 17, 2012
In rural areas of the developing world, mobile telephones are
helping people connect with health care providers in major
cities. For instance, today a woman in Uganda having a
difficult childbirth can get help from a physician in Kampala,
contact a community health worker, or even secure
transportation to a hospital.
"Now, a phone call can compress the time that it would have
taken before to come to that decision point and get the woman
care more often and quickly," said Dr. Alain Labrique, a
professor of international health and epidemiology at Johns
Hopkins University (JHU).
JHU's Global mHealth Initiative is evaluating the role of
mobile technology for care in 51 projects involving 120
students and more than 60 faculty members. Next March, JHU's
Bloomberg School of Public Health will start two courses on
using these technologies in the field.
"There's a lot of excitement among faculty, but there's 10
times as much excitement coming from students," Labrique said.
"What mobile technologies are doing is changing the way that
we see global health in terms of our ability to impact
populations, to collect data in real time, to develop real
strategies, to impact public health that we hadn't thought of
JHU's Dr. Larry Chang, who studied HIV/AIDS and technology in
Uganda, and Labrique both agree on the need to rigorously
evaluate the potential of such tools. In addition, greater
patient access to care would require a larger capacity to
absorb the extra workload, such as more health workers,