In the Field in Indonesia for Wireless Reach’s New Maternal and Child Health Program

In the Field in Indonesia for Wireless Reach’s New Maternal and Child Health Program

By Elisabeth Best, Sustainability and Wireless Reach Program Manager
An early child development assessment at the posyandu.

An early child development assessment at the posyandu.

Monday, August 22, 2016 - 10:00am

CAMPAIGN: Purposeful Innovation


At Qualcomm, we define sustainability as a strategy that drives long-term growth and profitability by including environmental, social and corporate governance issues in our business decisions as they relate to our key spheres of influence: our workplace, our supply chain, local communities, our industry and the public policy realm. For us, innovation isn’t just what we do; it’s who we are.

While I have been contributing to Qualcomm’s sustainability efforts since 2011, I was thrilled to add program management for Qualcomm® Wireless Reach™ to my portfolio late last year. Wireless Reach is our strategic corporate social responsibility initiative that demonstrates innovative uses of mobile technologies for social impact and helps drive human and economic progress in underserved areas – in my opinion, it is a powerful illustration of the progress created by the marriage of sustainability and innovation.

Of course, while we can accomplish a lot through conference calls these days (thank you mobile technology!), international development work can’t all be done from behind a desk.  Last month I had the opportunity to travel to Indonesia to meet with the Summit Institute of Development (SID), an organization that has a long history of doing data-driven on-the-ground work to promote child and maternal health in Lombok, Indonesia.

In Indonesia, frontline health workers (FLHWs) are the first and often the only point of contact for health care access for millions of people. FLHWs include community midwives, nutritionists, vaccinators, community health facilitators and family planning field workers. They form the backbone of the health system, especially in resource-constrained environments, which can sometimes have a shortage of trained physicians and nurses.

As part of my trip, we visited the hamlet, village and sub-district health facilities to experience the local health care system and facilities and meet with FLHWs; I also got a crash course in medical Bahasa. The posyandu, or the hamlet-based health care post for women and children, happens one morning each month and provides an opportunity for mothers and children to check in with FLHWs: midwives, nutritionists, vaccinators, and early childhood development workers.

The polindes is the village-based health care facility for mothers and children. Midwives and their assistants are based out of this facility, and mothers come in for more advanced care, plus babies are sometimes delivered here. While there, I had the opportunity to meet a mother who had just delivered a child that morning! Her husband was also there, taking a nap after a long night of labor.

Later that day, we toured the puskesmas, the primary health center at sub-district level, which includes a wide range of medical services, including urgent care, a pharmacy, and an eye doctor.

It was great to get a first-hand look at the child and maternal health care in Lombok and to meet with SID and a number of local stakeholders, including government officials, to discuss opportunities to leverage mobile technology to manage medical records and improve health outcomes.  I look forward to collaborating with them to see how technology can contribute to the healthcare ecosystem for mothers and children in Lombok, Indonesia as part of this new Wireless Reach program.

To learn more about Qualcomm Wireless Reach, visit