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FrontlineSMS Initiative: Quantified Impact for Rural TB Program

By Joshua Nesbit | 25 Dec, 2008 Last edited by Robert Szypko on 27 Jul 2011

Happy holidays, GHD!

I posted a while back with some specifics regarding a project at a hospital in rural Malawi. Here's a quick summary:

"Using a donated laptop, 100 recycled cell phones, and a copy of FrontlineSMS, I set up an SMS-based communications network for a rural hospital and its Community Health Workers (CHWs). The network allows the hospital to respond to requests for emergency medical care, track patients, record HIV and TB drug adherence, stay updated on patient status, mobilize remote communities for outreach testing, provide instant drug dosage/usage information, and connect HIV/AIDS support group members."

I'm now back in Malawi (on Christmas break, away from Stanford). A recent post on the project's blog - http://mobilesinmalawi.blogspot.com/ - titled, "Tuberculosis, Meet FrontlineSMS" outlines ways the hospital's TB program is using very simple tools to its advantage. Some members of this forum might be interested.

The SMS network is being utilized by a number of hospital programs, including home-based care, PMTCT, public health, and HIV/AIDS.

All the best,




Rajbir Singh Replied at 9:35 AM, 25 Dec 2008

Dear Josh,

Thanks for sharing ur experience.

I would like to know if it is possible to have records of all the sms received and sent in computer. So that it is possible to go through the sms records retrospectively.

I plan to introduce similar approach in community based MDR TB project

Best regards

Dr. Singh

Joshua Nesbit Replied at 11:06 AM, 25 Dec 2008

Hi Dr. Singh,

Thanks for the reply. If you're interested in the capabilities of FrontlineSMS, then check out www.frontlinesms.com. It's free software that turns a laptop, connected to a phone (or GSM modem) into a central SMS hub. It organizes incoming and outgoing text messages - all the messages are saved on the laptop, and can be exported quite easily. You can access old SMS messages on FrontlineSMS (e.g. by date or by contact).

If you have other questions, feel free to post here or contact me at . If you're looking to start up a similar initiative, I would love to discuss further (as there are opportunities for relevant resources).

All the best,


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