Christine Marie George, PhD, an associate professor in International Health, is turning to the ubiquitous mobile phone to help reduce infection rates in Bangladesh, one of the planet’s poorest countries with one of the highest risks for cholera. Cholera is spread, in part, by poor sanitation and inadequate hygiene; handwashing is one way to reduce the likelihood of transmission.
“The time when family members are at highest risk is the one-week period after the cholera patient presents in the hospital,” George says.
The Cholera Hospital-Based Intervention for 7 Days, or CHoBI7, aims to reduce that risk by sending text and voice messages to remind a patient’s family to wash their hands with soap. Ninety percent of Bangladeshi homes have access to mobile phones.
Orange SA and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, will enter into a partnership with the Côte d'Ivoire Ministry of Health to increase immunisation rates in the regions and districts with the lowest vaccine coverage, it was announced at the World Economic Forum today.
The "M-Vaccin Côte d'Ivoire" project uses Orange mobile technology to inform parents about the importance of vaccination by sending text and voice messages in the local language. Targeted messages will also help ensure parents don’t miss immunisation sessions by reminding them of their children's schedule and dates.
"This new partnership is truly innovative and important for the children of Côte d'Ivoire," explained Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. "Parents often do not receive enough information about the importance of immunisation because they live a long way from health centres or in hard-to-reach places. These voice and text messages should therefore have a significant impact and lead to an increase in vaccine coverage."