The country is using the increasing adoption of smartphones to help to combat the disease among its population.
Malawi has found it challenging to keep up with the diagnosis and treatment of meningitis among the children who live there, but the hope is that a new mobile health program will become a key tool in combating this disease.
As smartphone penetration is rapidly increasing, a number of opportunities have opened in health care.
A new project called Action Meningitis has now been launched by reps from Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Trust, an international charity research foundation focused on the disease. It will now be adding a new mobile health component that will help to expand its reach and contact with patients. Statistics from the group’s research have shown that, in Malawi, 41,000 children have died before turning five years old. About half of those early childhood deaths are reported to have been preventable if only earlier diagnosis and treatment had been made possible.
The use of mobile phones provides access to health care providers who are familiar with meningitis and its symptoms.
The research in Malawi also revealed that parents and even some health care providers have a lack of knowledge in the area of some serious illnesses such as meningitis.
The Meningitis Research Foundation CEO, Vinny Smith, released a statement that said that there have been more than 262,134 children who have made their way through the triage process through mobile technology, since December 2012. The mobile devices have been placed in eight different clinics across the Chikhwawa District and the Blantyre District.
The simple use of the mobile phones has made it possible for diagnosis and treatment to be provided to patients who may otherwise have been out of reach of health care professionals who have the knowledge and experience to be able to identify symptoms of conditions such as meningitis and other serious illnesses. According to Smith, the next step in this project will be to develop a scalable solution that will make it possible to offer greater containment of the disease. This way, it won’t just be a matter of catching and treating it, but it will help to stop it before it spreads.