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Telecommunications, an untapped emerging resource

Case: Ojo is a 42 yr old trader living with HIV. It has taken him three years to enroll in a treatment program that he trusts but he has to travel about 4 hours to a clinic in Jos where he receives his out-patient HIV care. 9 days after his most recent visit, he noticed that his eyes were a bit yellow and his urine was darker than usual.  His brother thinks he may have malaria or typhoid and Ojo took some over the counter anti-malarials. The doctor at a private clinic 8 miles from his home also thinks he may have typhoid and prescribes cotrimoxazole. His symptoms have not improved. Ojo does not disclose his HIV status or the recent changes to his ARVs to this doctor. His next follow up appointment in Jos is in 4 months.

The scenario above occurs innumerable times a week at the over-burdened HIV treatment centers in Nigeria. One of our initiatives at Obala is to bridge patient follow gaps by using already available technology. Like our focus on emergency medical systems, one of the solutions we envision for high-risk patients like Ojo during follow up intervals is to catalogue resources available to them and to develop mechanisms for patients to access or inquire about those resources. In Ojo’s case, a hospital call center might be a simple but effective starting scaffold. Using Ojo’s case we have outlined a text message based solution for longitudinal follow up. Obala is working with a variety of stakeholders on both delivery process analysis and on piloting solutions.

If interested, contact us for more details on this initiative.