Written by Dimagi West Africa Senior Regional Manager Mohini Bhavsar, this blog was originally published as part of the United Nations Foundation’s CHANGEMAKERS series. The series highlights creative minds, businesses and entrepreneurs solving everyday issues around poverty, hunger, disease and inequality. You can read the original blog post here.
In May of 2011, I moved to India for a one-year fellowship with Dimagi, a social enterprise that develops mobile applications for healthcare workers in low-resources settings. I went into the year committed to exploring the potential of harnessing mobile health in places where there are no doctors and few computers, but a growing population of cell phone users.
One of my first projects with Dimagi was in Kaushambi, a district in Uttar Pradesh with a high rate of maternal and newborn deaths. We built a mother and child health application for 10 community health workers using Dimagi’s platform, CommCare.
Today that project has grown from 10 to 250 health workers in the district, all running their mobile app on basic phones. With CommCare, health workers can register and track pregnant women, use checklists that remind women of their next checkup, and share audio and visual messages with pregnant women about delivering facility deliveries and breastfeeding. The women relate to the messages recorded in the familiar of voice Suman Prajapati, a local health worker who provides basic services in her village.
Dimagi now has more than 50 projects across India, and is now expanding into West Africa, to track nutrition, agriculture, education, gender based violence, and women’s empowerment.
After three years in India, last month I took a leap and moved to Senegal to lead a growing field team of seven French-speaking staff who are deploying mobile tools in West Africa. West Africa is ahead of the mobile health curve, and here we hope to create more ways to scale mobile innovations to improve health and quality of life across the region.