May 17, 2016

The Laos e-health pioneers

By Barry Bracken, UNICEF,  May 9, 2016

Sing District in the North West corner of Laos is the very unlikely scene of a technological revolution. An office in Nakham village is full of community workers, health volunteers and local Village Chiefs. One-by-one each participant introduces themselves and their smartphones, and are then each given an SD card. We are witnessing an innovative new UNICEF pilot programme take its first steps in Laos.

Photo Credit:  Barry Bracken

The members of this small Lao community sitting in their local Village Chief’s office are at the very forefront of technological driven social change in South East Asia. After a morning of tuition and demonstrations on how the SD cards should be used, the room suddenly erupts into a flurry of sounds as the newly activated SD cards spring to life.

The cards contain materials about breastfeeding (including a drama, a TV Spot and a documentary), a song about the benefits of immunization, a deworming animation, a video advocating an end to violence against children and 24 episodes of the UNICEF-backed ‘My Village’ animation. Suddenly, these health workers have a host of informative and engaging materials in their pockets – materials which can be delivered to some of the remotest communities in Asia.

Better knowledge, better health
The trial offers an exciting opportunity to support a high profile ICT health and development project to improve the (near) real-time monitoring of health outreach services and provide knowledge to support behaviour change.

One of the people responsible for overseeing the project is Mr Visith Khamlusa, Deputy Director of the Lao Centre of Information and Education for Health. “Our main task is responding to the need for health promotion in the districts. Our role is to provide health information to the people so they know how to promote their own health.”

Mr Ati (29) from nearby Phabatnoy village also thinks this is a good way for people to learn information about their own health.

To read the rest of this article and to see more pictures, click here to go to the source.

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