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[liberationtech] mHealth in Bangladesh

Hasib Ahsan hasib.ahsan at
Thu Dec 6 09:19:02 PST 2012

Hello, This is Hasib Ahsan from Bangladesh, working as Research and
Development Coordinator in mHealth, mLivelihood, mLivestock sector in
Bangladesh. I am sharing the mHealth initiatives taken in our country.

Bangladesh is a poor resource setting country in terms of healthcare
services. Mobile technologies have brought a great impact in the field of
public health. We are working with different NGOs having health programs
and front line volunteers who are called health workers in the remote
regions. The government and NGOs have certified these health workers to
give primary healthcare and also collect health information of the poor
people from their door steps. So the policy is there to work with these
volunteers where there is no doctor.

The front-line arms (e.g. volunteers or health workers) of govt. and NGOs
have inexpensive mobile phones loaded with sophisticated software for
collecting various data by interviewing beneficiaries and others, which
then can be sent to a common server using GPRS connectivity to create a
comprehensive and secured electronic database for data processing and
visualization. The mobile applications, based on either Java (J2ME) or
Android software, can have Local Language (Bengali) questionnaires in a
logical framework with multiple answer selection and numeric data entry
options for making an easier and faster data collection process. These
applications can have many customized features including unique ID and
password for data collectors to avoid data overlapping, and picture taking
and audio recording of beneficiaries’ for identifying them in case of
necessity. The data can also be saved in the mobile phone, so it minimizes
the risks for any emergency period when mobile network do not function
properly. Server screen-outs the data according to certain criteria, and
interpret the information based-on the given logics. Decision-makers
(Doctors, Program Managers) can view the automatically processed near
real-time information in different interactive dashboards/web-interfaces in
any handy monitor (i.e. laptop, smart phone), which can help them to track
the field situation and activity progress, and plan timely and targeted
interventions through the field-level executors for minimizing the disaster
affects by optimal use of limited resources. The policy of the Government
is to ensure the basic necessities of poor and rural people of the country
and healthcare is one of them. But there is scarcity of doctors in the
remote place of the country to have minimal support of basic healthcare.
Mobile technologies through health workers who are backed up by doctors
sitting in front of laptop have brought a new dimension of health services
for the poor people of the country.

Based on the logic of mHealth here, I along with my colleagues have
designed a solution for Livestock Cattle of the poor people in village as
remote veterinarian is hard to find. We have completed 2 pilots project
already to prove the model. Next time I will share the ideas of mLivestock.

Take care.

Hasib Ahsan

Hasib Ahsan
Research and Development Coordinator,
 Livelihood, Health, Agriculture and Education Unit
mPower Social Enterprises Ltd &

 Program Manager
e-Health Project with Rockefeller Foundation
 iStrategy Ltd.

 Cell: +8801711076753
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