Trial shows text messages improve malaria treatment
Text messages have proved to be a cheap and effective way of improving malaria care in African countries.
In the first study of its kind, daily text message reminders sent to health workers saw approximately 25 percent more children receive the proper treatment for malaria.
Researchers behind the project say text messages are a cost effective way of improving malaria care and the method would be easy to roll out across the whole of Africa as the use of mobile phones is rapidly increasing in developing countries.
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It is estimated that in Kenya alone, where the study was carried out, 86 percent of the population have access to a cell phone and there are 22 million subscribers to phone networks.
There has been concern over the success of malaria treatments in Africa because of low patient adherence rates to prescriptions.
Health workers therefore play a key role in administering malaria medications to sufferers; however other research found even their compliance to treatment guidelines is minimal.
As part of the study, text messages were sent to 119 health workers in Kenya for a period of six months at a rate of twice a day.
The health workers received advice and guidance on how to administer the anti-malarial medication of artemether-lumefantrine (AL).
An example of the messages sent is: “advise mother to finish all AL doses over three days even if the child feels better after two doses.”
When the study began only 20.5 percent of children were being treated correctly, but after health workers received the text messages this increased to 49.6 percent.
The cost of sending text message to one health worker for six months has been estimated at US$2.6 (£1.59).
Professor Bob Snow, who led the research, said: “The role of the mobile phone in improving health providers' performance, health service management and patient adherence to new medicines across much of Africa has a huge potential.”
“The simplicity and low cost of text messaging means that widespread implementation of an intervention that uses this technology can be done quickly and successfully,” he added.
Jvion launches AI-powered map to tackle mental health crisis
Clinical AI company Jvion has launched an interactive map of the US that highlights areas that are most vulnerable to poor mental health.
The Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map uses Jvion's AI CORE™ software to analyse public data on social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine the vulnerability of every US Census block group.
Vulnerability refers to the likelihood that residents will experience issues like self-harm, suicide attempts or overdoses. The map also identifies the most influential social determinants in each region, to show the social and environmental conditions that contribute to mental illness.
As an example, the map shows that Harrison County in Mississippi has a 50% higher suicide rate than the rest of the state. It also shows a high percentage of individuals in the armed forces at a time when active duty suicides are at a six-year high, along with a high prevalence of coronary artery disease, arthritis, and COPD, all chronic illnesses that are linked to a higher suicide risk.
The map also shows Harrison County has a high percentage of Vietnamese Americans, who studies suggest have high rates of depression and may be less likely to seek help from mental health professionals.
The map was built using the same data and analytics that Jvion used to create the COVID Community Vulnerability Map, which was launched towards the start of the pandemic.
With this new map, Jvion is aiming to tackle the growing mental health crisis in the US. “At a time when so many Americans are struggling with their mental health, we’re proud to offer a tool that can help direct treatment resources to the communities that need it most,” said Dr John Showalter, MD, Jvion’s chief product officer, who led the development of the map.
“For too long, the healthcare industry has struggled to address social determinants of health, particularly in the context of behavioural health. Our hope is that by surfacing the social and environmental vulnerabilities of America’s communities, we can better coordinate our response to the underlying conditions that impact the health and wellbeing of people everywhere.”