Communities in Phalombe will now start to access health related messages through their mobile phones in an initiative known as Chipatala Cha Pa Foni in vernacular.
During a District Executive Committee (DEC) meeting on Tuesday, Village Reach Organization said disclosed that Phalombe district would be among 17 districts in the country to be served with health service messages via an individuals’ mobile phone upon their request of the information.
Project Officer for Chipitala Cha Pa Foni (CCPF), Omega Sambo said the initiative is one way of ensuring that people living far away from health facilities do not travel long distances just to receive advice from health personnel as long as they have a mobile phone.
“On their cell phone they will just be required to dial 54747 or send a text message to the number requesting for the kind of information they would like to be provided with based on the type of problem they have and they will be assisted instantly,” she revealed.
Sambo observed that the initiative started benefiting Balaka district in 2011 and by the end of this year a total of 17 districts, including Phalombe have been earmarked to be enrolled in the system.
District Health Officer (DHO)for Phalombe, Ketwin Kondowe hailed the initiative, describing it as a modern and convenient way of reaching out to people in hard-to-reach with information on health all the time.
He said the initiative would further reduce congestion in out-patient departments of most of the health facilities as some patients would be able to address some of their problems without physically consulting a medical person.
“This initiative will act as a bridge between health facilities and people within their catchment areas because at times health personnel cannot be reached to offer advice on particular situations, but in such cases people will still be able to send their questions and get reliable advice,” Kondowe stated.
Phalombe has a population of over 403, 000 which relies on 16 health facilities considering there is no district hospital, resulting in acute overcrowding in the said facilities.