I am a currently Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) in Nicaragua working in the sector of Community Health and represent the committee of Proyecto ChatSalud. In conjunction with the Nicaraguan Red Cross (NRC) and the local Ministry of Health (MINSA) we aim to create a national level sexual and reproductive health (SRH) text based hotline. The project is just climbing out of its nascent stages and we are finding ourselves generating more questions daily. As far as we can tell there hasn't been much experience with hotline as a form of health promotion in Nicaragua so a lot of the start-up methodology and development of the system is left to the PCV committee which is mainly composed of individuals with more experience in public health than computer sciences.
A brief health analysis:
In Nicaragua one in three girls will have their first child before the age of 18 often below the age of 15. This is accompanied by a rising prevalence of HIV (which is severely under-reported) and other STIs. These factors are symptomatic of a culture that considers talking of themes of SRH such as safe sex, family planning or transmission of HIV very taboo. Most at risk populations (MARPs) such as the youth, women and rural farm workers have too much "pena" (roughly translated as somewhere between shyness and awkwardness) to approach health professionals directly for information.
We aim to use Frontline SMS as a platform for a national text based SRH hotline which can remove the barrier between MARPs and SRH information and advise. In concurrence with Nicaragua's recently passed Law 238 (protection of rights of HIV positive individuals) the hotline will be safe, secure and 100% confidential. We will train NRC volunteers to manage and maintain the hotline. The idea is to have a part of the hotline be automatized like m4RH and for any questions that cannot be accessed can be responded to by a trained hotline operator.
The functions found through Frontline SMS are perfect for our project and we plan to model part of our hotline on the auto response function found in Georgetown's IRH project showcased on this website.
The project so far has been very low low-budget with all working aspects being donated or volunteered. Once it is up and running it will be sustained by the NRC on the system and human resources level and all training will be provided by MINSA.
We would love advise / help on a few issues:
-Have any of you used Frontline SMS for hotline related projects and if so could you possibly advise issues such as user rates, individual user influx and workload management?
-At the moment we do need a few functions in Frontline SMS. These include a Spanish language package, basic authentication system with possible two tiered access to the program and the ability to hide the "name" column in Frontline so that operators are unable to see the numbers of the users and maintain confidentiality. Have any of you had experience with this or do you know any developers who would be interested in working on a project of this nature?
To all interested we are more than willing to share our project proposal/protocols. To all those interested we will definitely be sharing our work and experiences in the process of project development and of course showcase our results.
Thank you very much and we look forward to hearing back from you all.
Nishant and the Proyecto ChatSalud PCV Committee
I can help with the language translations and I believe the are several examples of use of this application in a acute situation. You can scan the website and Forum.
Please send more info on the scope of the project so I can further assist you
Best regards and happy to participate