Mobile phones improve case detection and management of malaria in rural Bangladesh
1 International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Dhaka, Bangladesh
2 The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
3 The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
4 Furman University, Greenville, South Carolina, USA
Malaria Journal 2013, 12:48 doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-48Published: 4 February 2013
The recent introduction of mobile phones into the rural Bandarban district of Bangladesh provided a resource to improve case detection and treatment of patients with malaria.
During studies to define the epidemiology of malaria in villages in south-eastern Bangladesh, an area with hypoendemic malaria, the project recorded 986 mobile phone calls from families because of illness suspected to be malaria between June 2010 and June 2012.
Based on phone calls, field workers visited the homes with ill persons, and collected blood samples for malaria on 1,046 people. 265 (25%) of the patients tested were positive for malaria. Of the 509 symptomatic malaria cases diagnosed during this study period, 265 (52%) were detected because of an initial mobile phone call.
Mobile phone technology was found to be an efficient and effective method for rapidly detecting and treating patients with malaria in this remote area. This technology, when combined with local knowledge and field support, may be applicable to other hard-to-reach areas to improve malaria control.