Hesperian Health Guides Launches First Ever Digital Tools to Deliver Life-Saving, Accessible Health Information to Global Communities

Publisher of the Landmark Book, Where There Is No Doctor, Bridges Global Health Information Divide With New Digital Commons and first Pregnancy Childbirth App for Community Health Workers
Feb 21, 2012 10:00 AM ET

(3BL Media / theCSRfeed) Berkeley, CA - Hesperian Health Guides, the non-profit publisher of Where There Is No Doctor, the most widely-used health care manual worldwide for community health workers, educators, and Peace Corps volunteers and others, once again leads the way in delivering life-saving, relevant, and easily accessible information to the people who need it most. Hesperian’s new suite of digital tools, developed in partnership with UnaMesa, using an open-source platform, tap the power of technology to help people with little formal education and limited computer literacy who increasingly rely on cell phones as a life-saving resource. 

Hesperian’s Safe Pregnancy and Childbirth mobile application is the first ever pregnancy app designed for use by community health workers in areas with limited economic resources. The app provides information on everything from prenatal health to what to do in case of malaria or an emergency situation like a breech birth. Chapters from The New Where There Is No Doctor and Hesperian’s acclaimed Where Women Have No Doctor in a new easy to download and edit digital format, plus a downloadable library of Hesperian’s beloved community health drawings, completes the suite of tools in Hesperian’s open-copyright Digital Commons. The tools allow community health workers to access life-saving information easily and quickly, collaborate to shape and adapt the content to their needs, and share it with others.     “Rural areas in developing countries that lack basic infrastructure like roads, clean water, and health care often have access to cellular technology, even in the most remote communities,” said Sarah Shannon, Executive Director, Hesperian Health Guides. “Cell phones can become a lifeline, bringing much needed access to health information to more communities than ever before. A woman about to give birth can use this information to save her own life, and her baby’s life. ”   About the tools:   1. Pregnancy and Safe Childbirth mobile application for iPhone:
  • Presents life-saving information in a clear, accessible, richly illustrated style

  • Intuitive navigation is designed to be easy for anyone, even individuals with low computer literacy, to use

  • Once downloaded, the information can be accessed without an Internet connection

  • Covers topics such as prenatal health, danger signs during pregnancy and birth, and includes 20 how tos for a variety of situations during birth.

  • Available for free in the Apple iTunes store

  2. Hesperian’s reliable health information in a digital format easy to access even with limited internet connection
  • Easily searchable in 10 languages with cross links between different languages for use in mixed language communities

  • Powered by the technology that powers Wikipedia under an open copyright policy that allows anyone to use and adapt the information for their own circumstances and location

  3. Searchable online Image Library
  • Lets users download nearly 10,000 medical and health related images to create customized health materials.

  • Search terms by topic, gender, ethnicity, and keywords

  “The health content of Hesperian books has proven transformative over the last decades.  Digitizing this content and distributing it via omnipresent mobile phones and other devices promises to bring this information to even more community health workers in under-served communities,” Said Fredrik H. Winsnes, Healthcare and M&E Working Groups Lead, Nethope   Used together, the online tools serve as a Health Materials Workshop that allows users to pull text and images to create their own materials. They can post their adapted material on the Health Materials Exchange so that others worldwide can benefit and learn from what they’ve created.   Hesperian’s new digitals tools place crucial health information in closer reach of those who need it most. They empower communities to become producers of health information that is uniquely suited to their circumstances rather than consumers of one-size-fits-all content.   About Hesperian Health Guides Hesperian Health Guides reach millions of people in over 221 countries and territories and have been translated into more than 80 languages. Through its landmark Open Copyright policy, Hesperian partners with community health workers, villagers, medical professionals, and others to develop, publish and share reliable, actionable, and culturally appropriate health information. Hesperian publishes 20 titles, spanning community health, women’s health, children with disabilities, HIV, and environmental health, and distributes many others. Hesperian’s first and most widely known book, Where There is No Doctor, has been saving lives in remote corners of the globe since its publication in 1973. Generations of Peace Corps volunteers and community health workers worldwide have used the book. Hesperian’s mission is to provide information and educational tools that help all people take greater control over their health and work to eliminate the underlying causes of poor health. The Hesperian Foundation was re-named Hesperian Health Guides in 2011 to better communicate the substance and spirit of this mission. In 2011, Hesperian launched a new digital resource center that makes its health information available online in 26 languages, as part of its Digital Commons Initiative, an extension of its landmark Open Copyright policy. Through this ongoing Initiative, Hesperian will evaluate and employ emerging digital technology to ensure that people everywhere have access to empowering health knowledge.   About UnaMesa The UnaMesa Association is a public charity dedicated to improving healthcare, education, and social services through innovations in technology and tools for sharing knowledge. UnaMesa acts as an R&D organization with projects that bring together industry, academia, and NGO's to develop and distribute effective tools for social services. UnaMesa maintains the educational materials, software, and other "intellectual property" developed by these projects as a public trust.   Contact: Mary Ann Buckley (510) 292-5844 maryann@hesperian.org