Addressing healthy settings in Malawi
In February the newest member of the SCHI team came over from the University of Strathclyde to gain a better understanding of day to day project life. As well as making connections with similar minded projects and experts in the field of mobile health. Becky is in the first year of her PhD and is looking into the use of mobile technology to deliver health education messages. Her project will result in an intervention being piloted in Chikwawa to determine whether health messages accessed via a mobile phone influence health knowledge and behaviour change.
During her visit she met mhealth consultants, project managers and researchers for discussions into their experiences of implementing interventions using mobile technology to improve health. She also had the opportunity to go on three site visits throughout Malawi to see mhealth interventions in action. This included trips to the Millennium Village Head Office in Zomba and their intervention site in Mwandama, Village Reach Head Office in Balaka and their hotline centre at Balaka District Hospital and the Action Meningitis Head Office at Queen Elizabeth Hospital and to meet with community health workers at Mpemba Health Clinic.
This was an important learning curve to understand how the different projects implemented the technology, how it has been received among the communities and what challenges they have faced during implementation. Lessons learned from these visits will be taken into consideration throughout the research project, particularly during the planning and developing phase.
Becky also joined the SCHI team in attending the Malawi Scotland Partnership annual symposium in Lilongwe. This provided a good networking opportunity for discussions of potential collaborations with projects using mhealth interventions throughout Malawi, and will be of mutual value to the projects in the coming future.