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Beacon: Mobile Phone-Based Emergency Medical Dispatch for Resource-Limited Settings

911 Where There is None

Background

There are an estimated 4.5 billion mobile phone users across the globe, yet approximately 80% of the world’s population has no reliable way to call for help in the event of a life-threatening illness or injury. Nonetheless, lack of access to basic emergency health care services is a major contributor to health disparities between developed and developing nations with low- and middle-income countries having substantially higher mortality rates for what would otherwise be considered preventable deaths.

Description

BEACON is a text message-based emergency medical dispatching software created by Trek Medics International, and designed specifically for communities where consistent ambulance response is not available. By relaying text messages from the scene of an emergency to trained responders throughout the community, the software enables the nearest available emergency care providers to quickly locate, treat and transport emergency victims to local hospitals.

Impact

Our goal is to ensure that 90% of victims requesting emergency assistance through the communities we work will be attended to by trained layperson responders with access to transport within 10 minutes in urban centers and within 30 minutes in peripheral communities. We believe that the minimal human, physical and financial resources associated with a text message-based emergency medical dispatch system will make the implementation of prehospital care systems possible wherever mobile phones are used, providing a sustainable and cost-effective model for other low-resource settings.

Location: Montecristi, Dominican Republic & Mwanza, Tanzania

Project Website: http://trekmedics.org/

Partners

Google.org, USAID

Cardinal Health Foundation

Henry E. Niles Foundation

Widgeon Point Charitable Foundation