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Nokia and Unicef collaborate to boost healthcare to 58 million children in Indonesia

With the fourth largest child population in the world, Indonesia’s 89 million children carry much of the health burden. Around 1million Indonesian children miss out on full immunization every year, placing the country fourth globally in terms of absolute numbers of unimmunized children. Furthermore, 1 in 30 children die before the age of 5 each year –with levels as high as 1 in 10 in eastern Indonesia –with many of these deaths being preventable with timely maternal and child health services.

We began working with UNICEF on an mHealth project in Indonesia mid-2017. The aim of the program for UNICEF was to support the Government to transform and modernize community health and nutrition services by introducing innovative mHealth applications to improve health, nutrition, sanitation and hygiene. In 2019 our cooperation with UNICEF in Indonesia directly reached 21 917 people but also indirectly reached 14 959 730.

At the start of the program the expected outcomes were to strengthen community capacity to take appropriate actions to safeguard the nutritional and health status of children under five years old. The program specifically targeted children under 5 years old, pregnant and breastfeeding women particularly in urban slums as well as children 9 months to 15 years old, through the national measles and rubella campaign.

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The potential of mobile health applications

Timely and accurate information is critical for improving system performance. Mobile health (mHealth) innovations have the potential to improve both access and quality of health services. While Indonesia has a high degree of Internet and wireless connectivity, the application of these tools in the health sector has thus far been limited.

UNICEF worked to adapt and deploy an SMS-based platform called RapidPro to expand access to immunization services for children living in urban slum areas. The intervention combines mobile-phone based caregiver–newborn pair registration; SMS reminders aligned to the immunization schedule; vaccine stock monitoring, and mini household surveys, called rapid card checks (RCC).

Other achievements 2017–2019

Over 58 million children have been vaccinated against Measles and Rubella, with real-time data facilitating quick problem identification and course corrections.

Over 3 million malaria bed nets have been distributed across 20 000 villages during a nationwide campaign in 2018.

In Jakarta’s urban slum areas, personalized immunization reminders deployed through mobile phone applications have led to a near doubling in levels of immunization coverage.

Nokia and UNICEF have agreed to continue collaboration and build on earlier results, and support Indonesia in targeting even greater positive impact on child and adult healthcare with projects that include:

Nokia and UNICEF

Child receiving Measles-Rubella vaccine at a health facility in Semarang District, Central Java.

© Cory Rogers/UNICEF/2017

 

  • Vaccine campaigns: Use of the data dashboard system for monitoring polio vaccine campaigns where about 625 000 children will be vaccinated against polio in remote and difficult-to-reach provinces of Papua and West Papua.

  • Integrated maternal and child health and nutrition: Facilitate an integrated approach on maternal care, child wellbeing and sanitation & hygiene to use SMS platform beyond immunization. For example, 5000 mother-newborn pairs and 17 500 children under the age of five years will be served across 300 community health posts in the province of Aceh, increasing the survival and health of these children and their mothers. Also, additional screening on accessible quality water and sanitation at community health posts is conducted periodically via mobile devices as part of the integrated approach.

Children in urban areas @UNICEF/Noorani

Children in urban areas

@UNICEF/Noorani

  • HIV-AIDS-health services: Support development of a web-based dashboard to complement the national HIV data system to track key ‘tracer indicators’ for testing, treatment initiation and viral load suppression—with visualization and feedback. Alongside this, the system has the capacity to send treatment and check-up reminders to HIV-positive patients. Approximately 300,000 HIV patients -including HIV-positive pregnant women -will be tested and provided with treatment across the country.

The Indonesian government's goal is to scale up the project's best practices and technology developed in other areas of Indonesia, thus benefiting tens of millions of children. With a shared value approach, the use of technology and Nokia support UNICEF will continue to support the Indonesian government and extend the efforts more widely from health activities to child protection, education and social policy. With the advent of new technologies such as 5G, Cloud and AI, the role of technology in improving access to healthcare for all will grow.

Healthcare is a right for all children.