mHealth decision support may increase adherence to WHO guideline in treating diarrheal patients significantly, suggests new initial observations from an icddr,b study in collaboration with Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in Bangladesh.
Diarrheal disease globally remains the second leading cause of death for children less than 5 years of age. Barriers to combat this problem including poor adherence to guidelines for rehydrating children and outbreaks often outpace current epidemiological tools.
The new study proposes to compare a paper-based versus a smartphone-based decision-support tool in a cluster randomized controlled trial (cRCT) at 10 district hospitals. The smartphone tool is an adaptation of the paper-based WHO guidelines and is called the ‘Rehydration Calculator’.
The initial findings were shared during a dissemination programme on “Evaluation of a mHealth platform for Diarrhoeal Disease Decision- Support at Hospitals in Bangladesh” on 28 January 2019 at the IEDCR Conference Room in Mohakhali, Dhaka.
The event was chaired by Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director, IEDCR with the Chief Guest of the meeting was the State Minister for ICT Division, Mr Zunaid Ahmed Palak, MP.
icddr,b deputy executive director Mr Syed Monjurul Islam, Dr Nasima Sultana, ADG (Admin) DGHS, Directors from Hospital and clinic, AIDS/STD programme, planning and research, communicable disease control (CDC), community-based health care (CBHC), management information system (MIS), Finance, Non-Communicable Disease Control (NCDC), civil surgeons and residential medical officers of 10 district hospitals, and scientists from icddr,b attended the seminar.
In the welcome message, Prof Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora, Director of IEDCR presents IEDCR activities on disease surveillance, epidemiology, emergency response and prevention strategies for various infectious diseases in Bangladesh especially in enteric infections diarrhea.
Lead presenters icddr,b scientist Dr Ashraful Islam Khan, also PI of mHealth platform study and Dr Eric J. Nelson from University of Florida shared initial findings from the cluster randomised trial.
Dr Firdausi Qadri, icddr,b senior scientist with Infectious Diseases Division briefed about collaborative approaches with IEDCR in nationwide enteric disease surveillance activities and oral cholera vaccination efforts. She also mentioned enteric disease including cholera surveillance followed by OCV vaccination among the Rohingya people in Cox’s Bazar who have recently been displaced from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Mr Syed Monjurul Islam, icddr,b deputy executive director, focused on icddr,b’s contribution in diarrhoea management, the importance of mHealth platform in the health sector and also warmly addressed the transformation from eHealth to mHealth.
The State Minster Mr. Zunaid Ahmed Palak was very pleased with the research findings and the use of ICT in treatment of cholera. He acknowledged the value of the research findings, the scope of mHealth in diarrhoeal management and expressed his commitment with the participants for implementing an android based decision support App for diarrhea treatment and management all over Bangladesh.