Phase 3 (2007 Deadline)
Capacity Building of Lady Health Workers in Rural Mardan, KPK, Through the Use of ICT-Based Telemedicine
Rizwan Naeem, Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America, Westmont, IL
Arshad Ali, National University of Sciences and Technology, Rawalpindi
Pakistani Funding (HEC): $ 111,000
US Funding (State): $ 38,325
Project Dates on US Side: July 1, 2008 - January 31, 2012
This project aims to utilize voice, short text messaging (SMS), and multimedia messaging (MMS) over mobile phones to quickly and efficiently extend medical advice to lady health workers (LHW) in the field by connecting them to a network of US-based medical specialists of Pakistani origin. The primary partners on this project are working with the University of Mardan Healthcare Medical Facility in the village of Zahidabad, in Mardan District of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. Three medical doctors, two research assistants, and one network administrator have been hired on the Pakistani side, and despite funding problems on the Pakistani side, the project achieved substantial results, providing treatment to nearly 95,000 patients as of September 2010, as well as presenting free medical camps and training sessions to assist residents in rural communities.
- Presented free medical camps and training sessions to assist residents in rural communities
- Presented a one-day training course on basic life support skills for 24 healthcare workers in rural Mardan District
- Established an electronic medical records management system at the Zahidabad clinic
- Partnered with NGOs that provided medical care to nearly 95,000 patients in 2008-2010
The final stage of the project involved sending two Pakistani doctors to the United States for training. Dr. Mubasher Rana (APPNA treasurer) and Dr. Naeem initially expected to receive them in the first quarter of 2011. It seemed that everything was on track for the visit, as the visitors reportedly had their visas and plans were in place for their training at the George Washington University Hospital. However, the visitors left their jobs, and their facility was unwilling to designate replacement trainees due being severely understaffed. Plans are now in process to send two Pakistani staff members on the project to attend a telemedicine conference in December 2011 and to send Dr. Naeem to Pakistan to participate in a medical service camp, during which he will also provide training to Pakistani physicians.
Progress Report Summaries
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2010 Show summary || Hide summary
As of March 2010, the OpenEMR system was receiving an average of 150 patient records per day, and 3-5 cases were week were being shared with APPNA-affiliated doctors providing consultative services free of charge. By analyzing the data gathered through the system, project staff have been able to track disease trends and launch preventive efforts. For example, when the data showed a high prevalence of waterborne diseases among patients from Mardan, project staff requested water purification tablets from local sponsors and began distributing them to patients, a simple and inexpensive solution that has helped to reduce the burden of waterborne disease in the area.
After the software was designed and most of the equipment is in place on the Pakistani side, the focus was shifted to providing training and consultation to LHWs. Mobile modules for processes were designed and implemented to assist LHWs in registering new patients and obtaining information on the definition, symptoms, and treatment protocols for specific diseases, with data being transmitted in text, photo, and video format. These services are being modified and upgraded in response to comments from beta testers, including nurses at the UM Healthcare Trust who are currently using them to register and assess patients. The project directors had planned to offer a training course for LHWs in 2009 to launch the SMS and MMS services to a broader group of users, but that course had to be delayed until the spring of 2010 because local healthcare agencies were so busy dealing with the health impacts of the refugee crisis. The training manual and curriculum have been developed and it is hoped that the first group of 50 LHWs will be trained by the end of March.
2009 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
Three Pakistani participants in the project—Mr. Atif Mumtaz, Dr. Mian Qasim Nasr ud Din, and Ms. Shamila Kyani—visited San Francisco to participate in the APPNA annual conference July 1-5, 2009. This visit and the ongoing efforts of US project director Dr. Naeem helped to build the network of Pakistani-American physicians in various specialties who are serving as volunteer consultants on the project. After the conference, Dr. Nasr ud Din completed a 2-month internship with APPNA consultants from July to September 2009.
Despite the funding problems and the massive influx of Swat and Buner refugees into the Mardan area in the spring of 2009, which strained the area’s already inadequate healthcare system, the medical camps and new telemedicine consultation capabilities partially supported by this project were helpful in serving these very needy patients. In addition, an electronic medical records (EMR) management system developed as part of this project was established at the Zahidabad clinic, and it was used to manage records created in free medical camps for rural residents organized by UM Healthcare Trust.
2008 Show summary || Hide summary || Download full report
The primary partners on this project worked with the University of Mardan Healthcare Medical Facility in the village of Zahidabad, in Mardan District of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Activities on the project began in late August 2008, when Dr. Rizwan Naeem traveled to Zahidabad and with his local colleagues presented a one-day training course on basic life support skills for 24 healthcare workers, the first such training program even held in rural Mardan District. Two medical doctors, two research assistants, and one network administrator were hired to staff the project on the Pakistani side. Due to budget cuts on the Pakistani side, some needed pieces of equipment could not be purchased, planned travel had to be cut, and some administrative positions could not be filled with employees of the desired skill level. Fortunately, Dr. Naeem reports that this project has received supplemental funding from the Information Society Innovation Fund, which is helping to support the purchase of additional laptop computers and the organization of more LHW training workshops.
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