Today is my last full day in Lilongwe. It looks like I am not going to the field after all. Who knows...
I had a very productive meeting with Stanley and the folks at Zain. Zain is one of two cellphone providers in malawi. The other is TNM. We/UNICEF have a toll free number with Zain and TNM that health workers can sms their medical reports to. The problem with Zain, aside from the fact that their number did not work, was that in order to send sms (even to a toll free number) you need to have 10 cents on your card.
What we decided to do was have Zain look at all the cell phones sending sms messages to our tollfree number and bypass that restriction. The only problem is, with the first message that identifies the number to the system. Next solutin - when MoH trainers go to the field to train health workers, they are all going to have the health workers add themselves to the system. If anyone needs cell credit to do this, then it will be provided by MoH. We will see how the system fares as health workers move between health centers or change phone numbers.
What is the deal with the cabal of cellphone operators? It issomething I need to learn more about.
Thats it for today folks - over and out