For most of us, access to a healthcare provider is simply a matter of a short drive from our homes. In Africa, clinics can be a day’s walk or more from a remote village—a daunting task if you are sick or pregnant.
Because of this, most people who live in these villages choose not to seek clinical treatment. That choice leads to many tragic and unnecessary deaths.
|Malaria patient is treated inside the United Methodist Church Clinic in Mulunguishi, DRC. A photo by Paolo Patruno, UMCOR.|
The United Methodist Church is addressing this issue in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Rev. Betty Kazadi Musau, a United Methodist clergywoman and a public healthcare worker, is working alongside United Methodist Communications to use cell phone text messages in four unique ways:
1. Track disease outbreaks
2. Assess clinic supply levels
3. Assign workers to clinics with greater needs
4. Provide pregnancy care
Using cell phones to transmit needed healthcare information in rural or remote areas is an example of ICT4D (Information and Communication Technology for Development) at work. In the DRC, church must happen everywhere. The church and healthcare go hand in hand to meet the needs of all people.