E-health for maternal, child care being piloted in Caloocan

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As maternal mortality rate (MMR) in the country continues to increase due to lack of knowledge and medical attention, telecommunications firm Globe Telecom and non-profit group Access Health International have joined hands to deploy a health initiative using ICT.

Dr. Laila Celino, municipal health officer of Caloocan City, talks about the important role of electronic data gathering in addressing health-related issues
Dr. Laila Celino, municipal health officer of Caloocan City, talks about the important role of electronic data gathering in addressing health-related issues

Dubbed as E-Aksyon tungo sa Kalusugang Pangkalahatan (e-AKaP), the Access Health project is being piloted in about 6,000 households under the jurisdiction of three Caloocan City health stations, involving 100 health workers and community health team (CHT) partners.

The proponents said the project may be later on expanded to other cities and municipalities.

e-AKap uses a computer application known as Intelligent Community Health Team (iCHT) for identification of health risks and formulation of specific health plans for mothers and children, follow up of scheduled visits, and status updates through electronic reporting.

The application is pre-loaded in the 25 tablet computers provided by Globe, which also donated Tattoo broadband sticks with Globe Prepaid load for internet access.

?As frontliners in the delivery of health services, we go around bringing a lot of forms, health plans and guides. With e-AKap, we were taught how to use a tablet. It contains all the health messages which we read to the households,? Sonata Sadsad, a CHT partner, said in Filipino.

?There?s also a reminder on who should go to the health center on a specific date. Our work becomes easier now so we are able to teach more people especially the children and pregnant mothers to be aware of the risk factors.?

Dr. Laila Celino, municipal health officer of Caloocan, expressed gratitude that e-AKaP was first introduced in the city.

?If we can conduct a fast assessment of the health situation in the community, we can also address the problem promptly. In Bagong Silang alone, there are only six doctors for a population of 300,000, thus, it is impossible to reach every one. But now, with the help of the CHT partners and electronic monitoring, bringing health service right at the people?s doorstep would be much quicker,? she said.

According to her, since the tablets are turned over to the health center by the CHT partners, data is updated every day. Once the information is validated by the doctors they can easily identify who are those in need of medical attention.

?Usually, the people only visit us when the problem is already worse. They try to avoid going to the health center maybe because they were afraid, shy, or simply couldn?t leave work. Now that we have empowered the community, they help bring the patients to us or we can go to them if necessary. The community health team uses the tablet to teach the people and make them realize that they will suffer and spend more if they allow their health to deteriorate,? Celino added.

Latest statistics show that despite the government?s focused efforts to improve maternal and child health, the MRR in the Philippines still rose by 35 percent from 162 out of 100,000 live births in 2009 to 211 in 2011.

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