KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Eliab Mugabo, a medical assistant at a health center in Nyamagabe, southern Rwanda, advised an expecting mother that it was time to head to the hospital. She neglected the reminder.
Suddenly, she found herself in a critical condition. When delivery time approached, she panicked and sent a message via Rapid SMS, a platform used for sending distress messages.
"We got a red alarm and recommended local leaders to make sure she goes to the nearby hospital," says Mugabo. She is now a proud mother of a six month old."
Introduced in 2014, Rapid SMS helps to track women from the first day of gestation to child birth.
To ease health care delivery, Rwanda has distributed free telephones to community health workers. Each handset is installed with software that tracks and reports about women and their baby's health condition.
First, a health worker identifies cases of women in his or her village, says Erick Gaju, in charge of e-health at the Ministry of Health.
The health worker counsels and advises mothers to send a message whenever an emergency occurs.
In case of emergency, an SMS is sent to the toll-free number. The message is delivered to a central server. The system then sends a quick alert to a health center in the territory and tells them to intervene. The process takes a couple of seconds.
Gaju says that the technology has helped in delivery of "timely health care."
He said in some instances, hospitals send ambulances at midnight, after an SMS is sent by voluntary community health workers.
Their work is yielding tremendous results, he says.
Over 91% of Rwandan women are assisted by a skilled health worker, all delivering from a health facility and receive antenatal care at least once during pregnancy.
And Rwanda's Health Management Information System (HMIF) can now allow medical practitioners to follow up cases, from a hospital to another and to plan for referral cases.
Rwanda believes technology drives efficient health care delivery. Rapid-SMS is one of the country's investments in e-health.
A million dollars has been invested in the Electronic Logistic Management Information System to help physicians order drugs online. Analog-systems that required weeks of bureaucratic procedures have been abandoned.
Full article available at: http://ktpress.rw/rwanda-is-saving-babies-and-mothers-by-sms-3398/
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SOURCE KT Press