This page summarises the discussion during the GLOBVAC 2021
Digital Health Promotion – how can smartphones and digital devices be used effectively to promote health and prevent diseases: Two case studies from Tanzania
- Felix Sukums – Researcher and lecturer at the Directorate of ICT at the Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
- Andrea Winkler – Deputy director of the Centre for Global Health, University of Oslo
Key messages from the presentations
Increasing health knowledge in rural Tanzanian communities with digital health messages in Kiswahili
Christine Holst – Centre for Global Health, Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo
- The importance of multidisciplinary teamwork in Digital Health
- Animations very well received – High health knowledge retention: Important messages repeated by users
- The work with TZ- ground team and people in the communities – crucial for acceptance among the people
Wilhellmuss Mauka – Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences (MUHAS), Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Josef Noll – Basic Internet Foundation and Department of Technology Systems, University of Oslo
- Digital Health Promotion and Community Involvements are key topics for SDG 3
- Digital Health Promotion contributes to Digital Skills and is an enabler for the Digital Transformation
- Accessible & Affordable Health Information: “Access to Health Information is a Human Right” and should be free of charge for every single human being
Questions and Discussions
Q: Are there examples of free access to health information?
- yes, the government of Ethiopia has enabled free access to health and education, so-called “zero-rating” on mobile networks, for information on Covid19.et, Ministry of Health, and National Health Institute (EPHI).
Q: What about costs and access to the Internet, are these part of the projects for the users or not? What are your experiences?
- The material costs for a WiFi InfoSpot are 450 USD, though we have additional costs (1100 USD) for configuration and installation and training on the ground (1000 USD). Thus in total, we have costs per village of about 2500 USD. If we can establish the competence within a country, we can lower the costs for configuration, and through free help and community initiatives we can bring down the costs of installation to “close to zero”. For more reading, see Solutions for technology and costs, and DigI Villages for the collaboration with communities
Q: The village platform: Can the system send information back – so you can also use this for early alerts for communicable diseases?
- Yes, the village platform is connected to the Internet through a mobile network link, and thus can send information back. In principle, we could use machine learning to catch the early alerts, a topic for future research.
Q: In general: when implementing new technology there could be a main lack of trust in the new technologies. This has for example been seen when trying to implement digital contact tracing in different countries worldwide during this pandemic. How could one at best cope with this challenge when trying to implement new technology such as digital contact tracing or WiFi Information spot?
- One of the proposed approached to increase the trust in new solutions is to involve the local community, as well as open and public information about the intervention.
Q: What is the state-of-the-art in making digital health available and accessible?
- Apart from Ethiopia, who made access to health information “zero-rated” (free of charge) in the mobile network, we see developments in making educational and health content available free of charge. Examples are the Vodacom educational portal on education, offered free of charge in all mobile networks in Tanzania.
- Furthermore, international organisations such as ITU, UNICEF, A4AI, IISOC, UNDP, USAid put their emphasis on last-mile connectivity. Though, having digital health as enabler for digital transformation is still a relatively new topic, and pushed a.o. by UiO through DigitalGlobalHealth.no
Q: What is the type of population using the apps?
- In the example of the Jichunge App, the study was performed in urban areas in Dar es Salaam and Tanga (TZ). As the focus of the study was on personal app usage, we selected urban areas where the ownership of a Smartphone and access to the Internet is easier.
Q: What are your experiences with knowledge retention?
- In the “Non-discriminating access for digital inclusion” (DigI) project we experienced an extremely good knowledge uptake and knowledge retention, with a knowledge increase of 60% (from 15% to 75%) for the pork tapeworm, and more than 90% for HIV/Aids and tuberculosis. Especially for the neglected tropical diseases, we measured a substantial knowledge retention. See more details in presentations by Christine Holst.