From simple appointment reminders to immunization awareness campaigns, social media is helping rural healthcare providers better meet the needs of their communities.
Diana is a community health worker from Asembo village working with an NGO dedicated to HIV/AIDS treatment and support. In her role she relies on the internet, and in particular Google maps, for tracking the homes in the program. She sends reminders to those receiving care using Google calendar for appointment reminders. They can also pass messages to parents and guardians on their children’s upcoming vaccinations. Through social media she encourages mothers to give birth at delivery centers rather than at home.
Social media helps me to do my work more easily. There are many tasks that I could not do without the Internet. As a community health worker, I trace and track homes that have been registered in our program on a weekly basis so that we don’t lose track of any patients. This helps the medical and lab teams to reach all the homes. I use Google calendar to remind patients about their upcoming appointments.This ensures that the people receiving treatment are up-to-date with their visits. When it comes to immunization of babies and children, we use social media for creating awareness and to mobilize parents and guardians. It used to be a practice in this region for women to deliver their babies at home with the help of traditional birth attendants. But this practice was leading to many maternal deaths. So as a project, we started using social media to promote the importance of delivering at the medical facilities near them. It is also my responsibility to report births and deaths to the area chief. This has been made easy with the use of social media. However, sometimes I face the challenge of a poor network or no network at all in some regions.