Pacific Island countries are getting a new social media-style tool to help improve health services with the aid of Tupaia, a free health systems mapping app for the Pacific.
Tupaia’s Social Health feed – which its developers have dubbed “Facebook for Pacific health” – makes it easier for health workers to engage with relevant health information for their country. In the Tupaia Social Health feed, users can:
- Share stories, pictures, videos, comments and conversations from people nearby,
- Get targeted information from the health programs and donors in their country, and
- See surveys on different health facilities that have been completed in their area.
“We’re especially excited about our new game feature, which rewards users with virtual coconuts and pigs for completing tasks, like submitting surveys on health facilities,” said Tupaia Project Director Michael Nunan.
“Social media games like Farmville are very popular in the Pacific – and very entertaining – so we saw this as a fun way to incentivise the important work of collecting and sharing information about health services.”
Tupaia MediTrak is available for free from Google Play or the iOS App Store. Since July last year, it has been working to bring health information from Pacific Island nations together – the information is then presented in real-time on an intuitive map at ww.tupaia.org.
Through the free Tupaia MediTrak app, health workers can complete surveys on health facilities such as hospitals and clinics. These surveys ask important information like the number of available beds, the quality of services provided, and even if any machinery needs to be fixed.
“When a new survey is entered in Tupaia, users will be able to see on the app where this survey was done in their Social Health feed,” Mr Nunan said
“As well as help Tupaia users feel like even more of a community, the feed also provides targeted information relevant to each user – this could include local health information, public service announcements or clinical training tips for specific diseases.”
As well as collecting data on health facilities, Tupaia aggregates data from stock management software and health information systems, which is all presented in the intuitive mapping system at www.tupaia.org.
Tupaia.org presents relevant data to different user groups, such as showing senior health staff critical information to help them direct resources and make planning decisions or showing patients where health facilities are and the services they offer, such as wound care and maternal health.
“Tupaia Social Health is enhancing this service. From now, users won’t just be hearing from us, they’ll be hearing directly from each other about all the ways in which they’re improving health care in the Pacific,” Mr Nunan said.
“Tupaia Social Health is interactive, it’s fun, and most of all, it’s making sure Tupaia is even more useful and relevant for the people who use it. Anyone can download Tupaia MediTrak and join in,” Mr Nunan said.
“The Tupaia app can even be used offline, which is especially useful in the Pacific, where internet connection on some remote islands isn’t always available. Whenever they’re back online, this information will be updated in real-time,” Mr Nunan said.
“Tupaia users will still have password-protected access to sensitive information at www.tupaia.org, while the public will still be able to see critical health information, such as whether a facility is open or closed.”
More than 400 health workers so far have signed on to Tupaia to help collect clinic data and build a map of health systems in the Pacific. That map now covers more than 600 facilities and more than half a million pieces of vital data – including medicine supply and storage, services, infrastructure and equipment. (PR)