Feasibility of Cell Phones as Data Collection Tools in a Pediatric HIV Disease Burden Estimation Study in a District in India
There is scarcity of data on disease burden of pediatric HIV in India. Early detection is crucial since 30% untreated HIV infected children die before the age of one year. Information on clinical features of pediatric HIV infection from hospital based studies is ineffective in guiding prevention policy. We conducted a community based study in a district in India for disease burden estimation and tested feasibility of using mobile phones as data collection tools.
We used a multi-pronged approach; three sources of recruiting suspected HIV+ve children were used: 1. Children of HIV+ve mothers, 2.Children of PLHIV adults, 3.Sick children managed at health facilities.“ CommCare” a Cell Phone Based application translated in the local Kannada language was designed for Strategy 1, was installed on Nokia 2700c phones to be used by field level data collectors. Training was provided using a Nokia Emulator projected on a screen. The application allowed digital form filling, registering HIV positive women until delivery and follow up of their children to be tested for pediatric HIV
252 paperless forms were filled on the cell phones. Data transfer in real time, prompt reporting and alerting the health facilities by SMS Alerts, and compilation was possible using the cell phones. Average weighted prevalence for the district (arithmetic factor for best estimate of burden among children using a modeling based approach) by compiling data from the three strategies will be done for calculating the disease burden
Adapting to technology; transition from paper based forms to use of mobile technology as data collection tool is a feasible option in community- based studies in India