The following is part of a series of project updates from the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI). MHTF is supporting their project, Using Cell Phones for Obstetric Emergencies. More information on MHTF supported projects can be found here.
Written by: IHI
The Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) will seek to improve emergency care for pregnant women and newborns in Tanzania by providing free mobile phones and business-related service for mid-level health care providers, to allow better communication with senior medical staff at district headquarters. Cooperating with district councils and the ZAIN mobile telephone company, IHI will evaluate the cost, feasibility and implementation issues that arise if health workers at the district level have better access to long-distance counseling, faster referrals and resupply service and emergency clinical support.
A baseline assessment will help to guide the development of the system. It includes health facility visits; interviews with health workers, TBAs, and village and district officials; focus group discussions in communities and case studies with women who have experienced a complication in the last year.
Negotiations with the phone company ZAIN that began as project-specific opened a dialogue between Ifakara Health Institute and the company which resulted in a broad agreement that will also reduce the costs of communications for IHI staff.