Caught Smoking

A baker’s dozen left St. Gabriel’s Hospital on Thursday with cell phones, trained and ready to communicate. Below, a CHW practices texting “Malawi.” He’s the Home-Based Care provider in his village, and runs an orphan care center.

Text messages are notorious for being concise, hence the Short Message Service (SMS) protocol and its 160 character/message cap. Most of the messages to and from the hospital are brief, and to the point. Some CHWs, however, send stories – sometimes, five messages in length. A few examples (translated from Chichewa):

PF is refusing to use the condoms in his family which has made his wife to be pregnant of three months and he also drinks alcohol much, and also likes women. In so doing I advised him not to stop using condoms and also to stop drinking because they are putting his life in danger. And his wife should start going to her doctor visits, like at St. Gabriel’s.

I found TJ smoking, and he is on TB medication. He failed his first treatment in 2006, and this is his second treatment. AJ is on TB treatment, he is taking the drugs following instructions. He is improving. AM had swollen thighs but she is improving. She is taking drugs following instructions – the guardian is strict.

Both of these CHWs texted for the first time a little over a week ago.

I’m planning to video-interview a few of the CHWs this Tuesday and Wednesday. Any questions for them?

Posted: July 27th, 2008
Categories: Home-Based Care, Tuberculosis Management
Tags: , , , ,
Comments: 6 Comments.
Comment from Isaac Holeman - August 2, 2008 at 6:59 am

Hey Josh,
Found out about your blog and your work via your post on GHDonline. Cool stuff! Are you planning to do similar work for a while after graduation? Or heading on to Medical School? I have one year left of the Biochem program at Lewis & Clark in Portland, and I'm trying to make that decision now. Anyhow, I was just curious if you have any plans to expand this project. I'd also be curious to hear how you gathered the phones (I apologize if you've already posted about that, I couldn't find it).

Comment from Josh - August 5, 2008 at 12:09 am

Hey Isaac,

Thanks for the post. I sent a reply to your Squarepeg address – let me know if it didn’t make it to you!



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