I have been facilitating the Week 3 Session on Mobiles for Development (M4D) for MobiMOOC and a few days ago we had a speaker from Malawi, Limbanazo Kapindula, discussing mhealth projects in Malawi using FrontlineSMS. The webinar was titled “Using m-Health to Improve Access to Family Planning and Child Health Services in Malawi” and succinctly and pragmatically laid out how these tools can be used to great effect in the developing world.
I love balancing out my posts on conceptual possibilities for the future with this type of pragmatic undertaking. As Limbanazo points out, we see dramatic results with decidedly ‘low-tech’ solutions in these environments (1000 times faster, x% resource distribution, SMS alerts for appointment reminders, etc.). It also reaffirms my belief (oft-stated in this blog) that creating autonomous collaborative communities with technology, ones that revolve around need or local context, is a highly sustainable approach to development. We are all meant to network and we all participate in networks and if technology can accelerate that participation and improve the impact of participation, then we should consider its use. In this instance, it had incredible impact. It is worth a look if you are interested in not only m-health issues, but also if you are curious what a local application of mobile technology in a developing sphere might look like.