November 10, 2020
4. Knowing the local context
Solutions that work in high-income settings may not always be adaptable to low- and middle- income settings
Although there are many examples of successful digital health interventions in low- and middle- income countries (LMIC), solutions that work in high-income settings may not always be adaptable to low- and middle-income settings. When assessing what has already worked elsewhere and whether it is adaptable to a different context, it is therefore important to explore the socio- economic realities and particular needs, available infrastructure and connectivity, resources, capacity, literacy level, customs and traditions in each place. Community-based approaches can facilitate understanding of local language barriers, medical traditions and the way in which health themes are approached and communicated.
Sometimes simple solutions can work better and under certain circumstances, sophisticated and complex digital health solutions may not be required for a wide-reaching impact. Using technology through offline solutions, such as SMS to distribute health information where analogue phones are more commonly used than smartphones, or online patient webinars and downloadable guidance to facilitate access to information to large groups of people, may be a cost- and resource-efficient way of serving a large number of beneficiaries with limited access.
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