Digicel, Haiti’s largest telecommunications provider, has joined the global fight to wipe out malaria on the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic).
Digicel has partnered with Nothing But Nets and Malaria Zero – a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-led consortium comprised of NGO’s, universities, and local ministries of health – to provide mobile technology for a network of community health workers.
Equipped with 3G-capable tablet PCs, these health workers go door-to-door providing malaria assessment, diagnosis, education, and referrals. The tablets allow them to gather and access vital health information with the touch of a fingertip. This information feeds into a disease surveillance system that monitors the prevalence and potential outbreaks of malaria at a community level.
Malaria Zero has thus far trained and deployed 51 health workers throughout Grand Anse, a rural and hard-to-reach region in southwestern Haiti with limited access to health care. This region carries more than half of the country’s malaria burden.
that carries more than half of the country’s malaria burden. Over the next two years, this health-worker network (which will grow to 130) will screen tens of thousands of Grand Anse residents for malaria and other diseases.
The tablet PCs are manufactured by a Haitian company, Surtab, based out of Port-au-Prince. Launched in 2013, Surtab is the first company to manufacture tablet PCs in Haiti. Surtab’s employees, over 90% of whom are women, receive at least triple the minimum wage and health benefits.
Not only has Surtab empowered its workers, but its product is also improving the lives of Haitians. The tablets are produced for commercial sale, but they are also used to increase efficiency in education, healthcare and agriculture programs.
We are so thankful that Digicel and Surtab have joined Nothing But Nets and Malaria Zero in the fight to achieve a major global health milestone: malaria elimination in Hispaniola, which would effectively make the Caribbean a malaria-free region!