Despite the availability of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) protocols for classifying and treating common causes of death, approximately 10 million children continue to die each year from preventable or treatable causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles, and malnutrition.
The use of IMCI protocols is still limited due to several problems, including the high cost of training, the lack of sufficient supportive supervision, and the tendency to follow protocols less rigorously over time.
To solve these problems, D-tree International has developed treatment protocols for the most commonly diagnosed illnesses based on best field practices. The protocols, which are based on the concept of decision trees (hence their name-D-tree), are programmed into low cost mobile phones for use by frontline health workers.
These protocols guide health workers step-by-step through the full IMCI assessment, classification and treatment plan. They are highly user friendly such that the training of clinicians takes less than 1 hour in all cases.
The mobile phones are connected to a central database of electronic medical records and reports. Health workers can collect a wide range of information from patients and upload it to the database to generate statistical data for evaluation, research, or surveillance.
D-tree International runs a number of health projects in Africa, mainly in Tanzania. They also have many partners both from the health and technology sectors.