21 Nov SaludCom Fall 2013 – beginning Phase 4
The SaludCom project is now entering its final phase, in which we are installing booster antennas in communities with irregular or minimal cell phone service.
Improving cell phone signal can be a matter of life and death. Since the start of SaludCom, our health promoters have used their cell phones (provided by NOKIA and MINGA) to coordinate emergency service in at least fifty cases. In at least five cases, lives were saved because of the project and the swift health center response enabled by our cell phone networks and ambulance service. However, some of the most remote communities are still unable to fully benefit from these networks, as cell phone signal is too weak or irregular. Therefore, in this final phase, we are installing antennas to further improve communication for over 250 families. In addition, we are: providing Red Cross Training workshops for our twenty health promoters throughout the region, further equipping the health center ambulance for better functioning long-distance service in the region, and providing technological support and much-needed infrastructure to improve health center outreach to surrounding communities.
Since 2009, we have been implementing the SaludCom Project with NOKIA and our Ecuadorian partner organization, Fundacion MeHiPro. The project uses mobile technology to improve health-related communication and data collection in El Páramo region. Through SaludCom, the health center has overcome two major barriers to effective, preventative health care: poor data on regional demographics and epidemiological conditions and sparse communication infrastructure. Quality information and communication are especially critical in a rural region like El Páramo, where it can take up to fifteen hours to walk to the health center.