Globe supports Unicef maternal and newborn health programBy Noli A. Ermitanio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
In a ceremony at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel held Nov. 16, Globe CEO and president Ernest Cu and customer lifecycle management head Jay Beltran handed over the ceremonial check to Unicef Philippine Country Office-Health and Nutrition chief Willibald Zeck. MyRewards MyGlobe campaign ambassador, TV host and model Bianca Gonzales graced the event.
Globe has been partnering with Unicef to develop low-cost technologies like the real-time Community Health Information Tracking System, or rCHITS. The rCHITS, developed by Unicef and University of the Philippines Manila-National Telehealth Center, is the country’s first electronic medical record system for government health facilities.
rCHITS can monitor and obtain key maternal and child health indicators, enabling our country achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, or the reduction of child mortality and improvement of maternal health.
A better way?
The common practice, according to Zeck, especially in barangays and rural health units, is to record and consolidate cases of live birth, maternal and deaths manually. “Enormous volume of data in a typical government health center [are] usually written on paper or cards,” which are prone to human error, Zeck said, adding that results are often delayed, making them “almost stale and irrelevant.”
With the rCHITS, nurses and midwives can now report data in a timely manner to the Department of Health and local health authorities using their cell phones.
Launched in February in G’lan, Sarangani, Santo Domingo in Albay and Gamay in Northern Samar, rCHITS equipped program leaders with mobile phones and special SIM cards to help gather information for maternal and child health. Globe’s Textconnect facility, a web-based service which can transmit high-volume text broadcasts, handled the service.
Aside from assisting community health workers, rCHITS will help health authorities in making timely decisions. “Mayors, heads of health teams, administrators and national policymakers now have real-time information which they can use to improve the health and welfare of their citizens,” Zeck said.
With Globe’s P1-million donation, rCHITS will be extended to 8 more municipalities, providing for phones and unlimited subscription for SMS and calls to health workers, day care workers and other partners, thus further enhancing the system through hardware and software upgrades.
Globe’s participation in the rCHITS program was made possible through the Bridging Communities, or Bridgecom.
According to Globe corporate social responsibility head Roberto Nazal, BridgeCom aims to transform people, businesses and communities through the principle of sustainability, partnership, innovative solutions and shared value creation.
In behalf of Unicef, Zeck extended its gratitude to Globe for backing up the agency’s programs. “Monitoring and data collection has been seen by some development partners as an ‘unattractive’ beneficiary of funds. It is to Globe’s credit that they have recognized the importance of this area of our work and committed support to it,” he said.
According to Zeck, the message is unequivocal: “We can radically reduce maternal and child death. Sound strategies, scale-up of known and effective interventions, adequate resources and, above all, political will are imperative.”