Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thank you for the Payphones

By Martha Fatsani Sande

In an effort to help chronically ill people in his village, Harrison Ndelemani volunteered to give the sick financial and medical support. With support from other well wishing villagers Ndelemani formed Chikomwe Home Based Care (HBC) group. Apart from helping the patients with necessities like food, soap and medicine, the group also provides transport for patients to go to hospital. However, with lack of training in HBC coupled with inadequate resources, life was a nightmare for the group as they could not help many patients.

“Our main challenge was lack of training; we could not care for the patients effectively. We also found it hard to communicate with the nearest hospitals to call for an ambulance when faced with serious cases which needed immediate physician attention,” Ndelemani said.

It is against this background that The Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) introduced an Information Communication (ICT) programme to train volunteers in HBC and link them with hospital officials.

According to the organization’s ICT Manager Kumbukani Kuntiya, the project which is in its pilot phase, explores the use of ICT in contributing to the quality service that health care workers and volunteers provide for people living with HIV infection and AIDS in Malawi.

“We believe that better equipping the community volunteers with mobile communication enables them for greater access to support and greater capacity to improve and increase their role in the provision of community care and support for HIV positive people and those with chronic illnesses being nursed in the community,” said Kuntiya.

He also said increased communication between volunteers, health care units and hospitals may ease patient access to appropriate levels of care with reduced time, costs and travel.

With funding from Tearfund, EAM purchased payphones from Zain Malawi Limited formerly known as Celtel and distributed to eight HBC groups around Nkope Health Centre and St. Martin’s Hospital in Mangochi district. The groups use the payphones for income generating activities to support the patients and also to communicate with the two health facilities for medical support as well as calling for an ambulance when they face emergencies.

“In the past it was hard to raise money to assist the patients with some painkillers and other basics like food and soap. However with this project, we are able to support them with the money generated from the payphone business. We are also able to call for an ambulance from the hospital when need be and care for them appropriately. We thank EAM for the support,”
said Ndelemani with a smile on his face.

The project is being implemented with funding from Tear fund UK and will run for 10 months until October 2008.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Mobileactive08 Summit

Mobileactive08 started on Monday, 13 October 2008 in South Africa bringing together over 350 delegates from all over the world - quite rich discussions are expectd during the 3 day event.

Part of the Malawi delegates at the summit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


Will be away attending a Mobileactive08 conference - Unlocking the Potential of Mobile Technology for Social Impact from 13-15 October 2008 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

More details about the conference, check -

kuntiya, k.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mid Term Review out

Following an evaluation (mideterm) that was conducted on the Mobile Project in August, the final report is now out. Summary results will be posted here shortly.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Away to Mangochi

Will be away to Mangochi visiting the participating CBOs and collect phone usage data as well as patient data from 13 to 16 October, 2008. Hope to share with you anything worthwhile by Friday or right there once I get internet access.

Mobile Phones to Improve Health

by Mike Langa Lulanga - The Guardian Newspaper, 24th April, 2008

Evangelical Association of Malawi (EAM) has partnered with Celtel Malawi on an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project that will provide mobile phones to Home Based Care groups to improve health delivery services in the rural of Mangochi through the use of mobile phones.

The project is funded by Tearfund and aims at improving the quality of health care provided by the Home Based Care Volunteers in the villages and sustaining the community phone programme and offer a technology solution related to health services delivery.

Kumbukani Kuntiya ICT project Manager for EAM said the project will train about 100 HBC volunteers on how to use the mobile phones which the project will provide to them to help them communicate with their nearest health centers in their duty of caring for the sick in the villages.

Kuntiya said they noted that the home based Care Volunteers were spending a lot of time on the road going to the hospital to report on the conditions of their patients a thing which he said was time consuming.

The project which is being piloted in Mangochi and Lilongwe districts through the use of mobile technology is one way of contributing to the quality of services that health care workers and home based care volunteers provide for people living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi.

“We want HBC volunteers to spend much of their time in the villages caring for the sick and if there is anything they want from the hospitals they can just make a phone call and speak to their medics,” said Kuntiya.

He said equipping the HBC volunteers of Malindi and Nkope with mobile communication will enable them have greater access to support and capacity to improve and increase their role in the provision of community care and support for people living with chronic illnesses being nursed in the communities.

Kuntiya said increasing communication between these volunteers and health care units and hospitals may ease patient’s access to appropriate levels of care with reduced time and travel costs. He said this is a significant project for rural Malawi where human resource shortages already caused by the AIDS epidemic greatly impact subsistence farming and related economies which has made people to be unable to spend time working in their fields if they are sick or caring for the sick family members.

Currently EAM with the help of Tearfund has trained 30 HBC volunteers from Mangochi district, one its implementing partners. The participants were trained on the usage of mobile technology that will be utilized in the project as well as business skills.

Volunteers for the training were drawn from areas surrounding areas in Malindi and Nkope health facilities and were trained in basic HBC care services as well as use of the phones for generating income at community level for HBC services as well as sustaining the project.

Kuntiya said Celtel is proving free training and will assist in monitoring the phones and has pledged to donate additional mobile handsets. He said Celtel is more than a commercial partner in the project as they are not looking at making profits out of the project but as a social responsibility to see what they can do in fighting HIV and AIDS.