Update: Mobile App Helping Refugees through Cambia’s Skilled Volunteerism with Medical Teams International

March 6, 2018

Since 2015, a group of skilled volunteers from Cambia’s IT department has been working with Medical Teams International to build and implement the Health Information Program (HIP) mobile app, which improves and automates medical reporting for patients served at health clinics across Uganda’s refugee settlements.

Cambia has followed these volunteers and this enterprise-sponsored project to transform global health care for refugees in southwestern Uganda over the past three years in a series of blog posts, videos, and most recently, a podcast interview with two Cambia employees.

The partnership with Medical Teams International continues to educate and inspire beyond the original project. Recently, we caught up with the team during a “sprint” to explore how to expand the use of the mobile app to new parts of the world.

Medical Teams International has responded in full force to the recent refugee crisis in Bangladesh and it quickly became apparent that these pop-up clinics and response sites could benefit from the diagnosis tracking provided through the HIP mobile app. Medical Teams, once again, reached out to Cambia to help deliver the necessary changes to allow the app to be used in a new country.  After a few weeks of working remotely, the team recently gathered in Portland for an in-person development sprint focused on making these changes. 

“We are enhancing the app that was used in Uganda, to expand its use in Bangladesh, where Medical Teams is serving the Rohingya refugee population fleeing from Myanmar into Bangladesh,” said Heidi Brown Technical Program Manager at Cambia Health Solutions. In an environment such as the growing refugee settlements in Bangladesh, it is important to be able to look for patterns of disease diagnosis and respond quickly to reduce the spread, or impact, of diseases such as cholera and malaria. The goal is to allow Medical Teams to monitor country-specific patient diagnoses data to respond more quickly to patient needs in the field. 

“This has been an exciting challenge to take our original application and figure out what we need to do technically to be able to expand to a new country,” noted Jason Dempsey, who is a Cambia IT Technical Project Manager. “It is helping us understand how we can make the necessary changes quickly to respond to requests like this in the future.”

In Uganda, the HIP mobile app developed by Cambia is now implemented in nine clinics and outposts within two refugee settlements in southwestern Uganda and has helped with the diagnosis of over 190,000 refugee settlement patients. Medical Teams is also planning to expand the use of the application to better serve the South Sudan refugee population in northern Uganda, which includes approximately 40 clinics serving over 1,000,000 patients.

“I still can’t believe that through skilled volunteerism, I and my Cambia colleagues have been able to use our day-to-day work skills to make an impact of this magnitude for people on the other side of the world,” observed Heidi.

With the expansion of the app, Jason has high hopes. “First in Uganda, and now Bangladesh…I can’t wait to see this app grow and expand to affect the lives of more people around the globe.”

Check out the project’s progress for the past two years:

2017: Skilled Volunteerism and Global Health Solutions with Medical Teams International | HealthChangers Podcast

2016: Cambia Returns to Uganda with Medical Teams International Reflections and Updates from Cambia and Medical Teams International Partnership in Uganda

2015: Cambia Technology Experts Travel to Uganda to Aid Refugee Health Clinics