Congratulations to Pierre Omadjela for being recognized as a finalist for Cisco’s VNI Service Awards for his work in healthcare awareness using FrontlineSMS! The World Health Organization estimates 80,000 citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) died in 2010 from Malaria. The mosquito-transmitted disease is responsible for 40% of the mortality in Congolese children under five, and in a country where a quarter of the population lack access to healthcare facilities, promoting prevention has proven to be more effective than only treating infected patients. The President’s Malaria Initiative, launched in 2005 through USAID, provides malaria prevention and treatment in five provinces, which make up 26% of the DRC’s health zones.
The United Methodist Church also has an impact on malaria prevention in Africa by distributing more than 1.2 million insecticide-treated mosquito nets and running 300 clinics and health posts. Imagine No Malaria, an effort led by the UMC, is currently running a Nothing but Nets distribution site in the DRC. Although the UMC as a whole is promoting prevention and helping the infected, the winner of the VNI Service Awards decided to take prevention awareness to a local level.
The UMC’s Pierre Omadjela uses FrontlineSMS in the Central Congo Episcopal Area to resolve the “lack of access to healthcare and to [improve] the method of prevention against Malaria.” Before FrontlineSMS, it would take Pierre and his co-workers weeks to hear of health related news or disasters. The Central Congo Episcopal area is now coordinating over 100 hospitals in the DRC from a single office. In Pierre’s words, “This is how we will transform the world.” The office collects important information from the General Hospitals of Reference, clinics, and health centers and relays it to health care structures based in all 11 provinces of the DRC. Pierre says that “by using automated messages to mobile phones, we have increased the awareness about the ways to prevent from Malaria and we have already realized 5% decrease from the work we are doing.”
Continuing and expanding the reach of the UMC’s programs in the Central Congo Episcopal Area are two of Pierre’s many goals for the coming times. He says, “If we can have more laptops with Frontline software installed (One for each province), we will increase the awareness area in fighting malaria and this is our contribution to fight malaria. In all our annual conference meetings, we are collecting the phone numbers of the leaders of the church. We are then recording those phone numbers in order to use them when we are sending health messages to prevent against malaria, tuberculosis and other sicknesses. Our future target is to do all our best and contribute to the fight against malaria and have a world without malaria.”
This blog post is based on Pierre’s application to the VNI awards, which you can read here, and is published with his kind permission.