9 August 2008

Patricia Mechael: Millennium Villages, women and mobile health

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Patricia Mechael
As part of its coverage on the Bellagio conference on mobile health, MobileActive interviewed Patricia Mechael who is coordinating the mobile strategy for the Millennium Village Project.

She talks about mobile adoption, user-centric design, women and mobiles, how Millennium Villages is using mobiles to improve health outcomes, and what she sees as the next big projects in mobile health.

I think some of the best developments are when you have your endusers involved in the design process. We have a computer science doctoral student working on the development of CommCare in the Millennium village in Uganda. So he’s just spent the last few works following community health workers around the village, watching what they do in the household; watching what they do in the facilities, and how long it takes that individual to get from one place to another. […]

I think you have a much better chance of developing an application that will be meaningful for the end user. […]

What was nice about the study in Egypt, I just looked at “how are people using mobile phones in general without any external support.” Often times you can find patterns of use that you can just standardize or strengthen. Or develop the access to the information that they would need; the automated systems for some of the things they were already doing.

There are different ways of approaching it strategically, so that you’re not starting from scratch. There are a lot of really good projects out there. They are small, and they are pilots. But it’s a good starting point to look at what already exists before coming out and starting something new.

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