Effectiveness of an integrated m-health platform in disease control.
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Many countries signed to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which need to be achieved by 2015. These MDGs touch on health among other things and it has been noted that developing countries, including Zimbabwe, are lagging behind in their efforts to reach these goals by 2015 with several challenges being noted as undermining efforts to reach the goals. Several countries, in almost all continents are implementing m-health to help complement traditional efforts in many sectors of health delivery. The m-health used ubiquitous smartphones which the majority of people owned . This research accessed the effectiveness of an internet enabled mobile phone as a data collection and reporting tool in the fight against malaria. The research was carried out on health workers and patients in and around Bindura , in Mashonaland Central. Health workers collected data on malaria cases and sent them on a password protected website using internet enabled mobile phones which they used to send details on every case that they received and also received messages and could also send messages via the platform. The mobile website could also be used for user to user communication and users could receive news or learning material from the administrator. The administrator could also send SMSs to the users mobile phones. The mobile website was also tested for response time, availability and speed among other factors. The health workers and patients responses together with the metrics that were measured on the website led to a conclusion that a mobile phone is a very powerful tool that can be used to improve malaria control in the data collection and monitoring. The author had several recommendations from the lessons learnt during the research which if implemented, will help in the realisation of the full potential of the mobile phone as a reporting tool.