This launch news was published in Healthcare Information For All (HIFA)’s newsletter:
Wiki Project Med Foundation, Internet-in-a-Box, HealthPhone and Children for Health are excited to announce the launch of an offline distribution system that they have developed for delivering life-saving medical and healthcare information to those in need.
Healthcare information is the essential starting point for people seeking to care for themselves and their families and access to it is particularly important in low-resource settings where there is no, or inadequate, contact with trained, well-informed health workers. A lack of access results in the inability to take appropriate action, indecision, delay or incorrect treatment, all of which contribute to avoidable suffering and death. Ensuring access to authoritative and strategic information on matters that affect people’s health remains a global challenge that so far has eluded a solution.
Access to the Internet & Bridging the Digital Divide
Could the Internet and the ever-increasing presence of mobile phones offer a way forward? For sure, the Internet is a unique platform that now enables direct communication among nearly 3.5 billion people and is fast becoming the world’s major portal to humanity’s accumulated knowledge. Nevertheless, about 4 billion people, more than half of the world’s population, still do not have access to the Internet, according to a 2017 United Nations report. In India, only just more than a third of the country’s 1.35 billion people are connected to the Internet, leaving over 800 million without access. And the Internet connections that India does have are unevenly distributed: while urban India has 61.9 Internet subscriptions per 100 people, rural India can only muster 13.7.
Connecting the Unconnected
Thus, for the unconnected over 60% of Indians, who are predominantly female, low-income and rural, lack of access to the Internet can affect every facet of their lives from how they manage the health of their families to how they communicate with each other and ultimately how long they will live.
The Medical and Health Internet-in-a-Box (IIAB) South Asia Edition device is a complete single-board computer with an in-built Wi-Fi hotspot that allows for easy distribution of information in places where access to the Internet is limited, controlled, not affordable or simply unavailable. Within a range of 50 to 100 meters, up to 32 people at any one time can connect to the device with a mobile phone or computer to access and download its content, free of any charge. It also functions as a mini app store in that those connected to it can download and install a number of offline apps. IIAB does not offer a connection to the Internet or to content beyond that stored in the Box itself.
This South Asia Edition of Medical and Health Internet-in-a-Box contains:
– Over 1,000 HealthPhone healthcare & nutrition videos in 22 Indian languages,
– 47 HealthPhone mobile apps in 18 Indian languages,
– All of Wikipedia Medical Encyclopaedia in English and Farsi,
– Full Wikipedia in 23 Indian Languages,
– The Global Emergency Medicine Wiki, and
– Children for Health’s 100 Health Messages in 5 Indian languages.
The focus of HealthPhone’s content is malnutrition, particularly in India which is home to 40% of the world’s stunted children and 20% of the world’s maternal and child deaths. Malnourished children, particularly those with severe acute malnutrition, have a higher risk of death from common childhood illness such as diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria. Nutrition-related factors contribute to about 45% of deaths in children under 5 years of age.
The possibilities are limitless. They believe this device has significant potential both to revolutionise the way unconnected people access information and also to benefit the more than 4 billion people around the world who do not have reliable Internet access.
For more information: http://www.healthphone.org/iiab/index.html