Currently we are building the exciting platform for communication between the medical reviewers and people requesting healthcare information!
Unfortunately our pilot plan was preliminary rejected by the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe. Their concerns:
• Students are not allowed to offer any healthcare information under the guise of "doctor", only in a teaching setup or under direct supervision of a registered doctor.
• The statues of the commission do not provide foreign based practitioners except under exceptional circumstances.
• There are no guidelines for SMS communication set yet by the commission, therefore they can not yet guarantee that the project can start.
To convince the council we have stress again that everything is already in an educational setup and under supervision of Zimbabwean registered doctors. Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Good news! We got approval from the dean of the Univeristy of Zimbabwe for our detailed version of the pilot plan!
Next up is the Medical and Dental Practitioners Council of Zimbabwe (MDPCZ). With their approval SMS Doctors can launch in Zimbabwe.
We got featured in in this months student edition of Arts en Auto. A dutch magazine read by doctors and medical students.
For the full article in pdf see:
SMS Doctors has made major steps towards sending the first health information through SMS. Discussions started in Zimbabwe in the medical faculty and continued in online google docs with contributions from Amsterdam and Harare.
The pilot will run in five high schools in Harare. We would like to provide information on sexual healthcare. A major reason is the high risk of HIV infection in Zimbabwe. Information provision could not only help prevent HIV directly, but also aids indirectly by increasing protection and awareness of other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). By disrupting the skin barrier, STD’s increase the risk of HIV infection considerably.
The team is formed with five ambitious members. From Harare there is Auxilia Govore and Jonathan Fernandes representing SMS Doctors. From Amsterdam there is Arend Koopmans, Robin Jansen and the brand new members Nadine Jansen and Anne Gehrels!
Kruger park was a wonderful camping adventure. Beautiful wildlife during the day, an amazing sunset followed by a 'braai' (South African bbq) and a few beers. After Kruger park we crossed the busiest inland border of Africa between South Africa and Zimbabwe. We visited Bulawayo where we stayed in a real backpackers paradise and took the bus (with free chicken!) to the capital Harare.
In Harare we first met with Andile Dube Nust, a student at the Bulawayo medical school (class representative). He was sure medical students from Bulawayo would be very interested in collaborating to set up this mHealth project. At the university of Zimbabwe we were welcomed by Jonathan and Auxilia Govore, both members of the ZIMSA (Zimbabwe Medical Students Association). At a meeting of ZIMSA we pitched the idea. ZIMSA believes that combinations of healthcare and mobile communication like SMS Doctors could bring new possibilities for improvement in Zimbabwe. We are grateful that we can collaborate with these students with knowledge of Zimbabwe and know-how of setting up projects. We are now working together on improving the plan and will post conclusions on the blog as soon as possible.
Arrived in Johannesburg 1AM two nights ago! Flight went well and enjoyed the first sights of this lovely and safe city, which we did not expect. Unfortunately our luggage didn't come along. After that, we've waited in Pretoria for a VISA application for Mozambique and today we tried it at Johannesburg consulate. We are grateful to Diederike Geelhoed who helped us very kindly. Unfortunately we did not get our visa yet. However we do have a rental car and a barely-2-person tent, so good to go!
For SMS Doctors, we now plan to go to Zimbabwe first. We have got contact with medical students in Harare which we plan to visit soon. We are glad to hear they shared our enthusiasm for this project; hopefully a fruitful collaboration will arise from these contacts. In Mozambique, we have got contact with a non profit organisation facilitating SMS-based payments for aid workers and health supplies. We will try to reach them, although this will probably be through Skype as it is going to take a while before we can get into Mozambique.
Meanwhile we enjoy the wonderful Kruger Park on the way up to Zimbabwe!