Health Information For Remote & Rural Eastern Indonesia

Rohan Fisher | FrontlineSMS | May 30, 2013

A massive thank you to Rohan Fisher, a researcher at Charles Darwin University who is currently focusing on open-source applications for mobile mapping and health data visualisation in remote and developing country contexts,  for his contribution to the FrontlineSMS blog!

The use of personal mobile phones has increased rapidly, even in remote parts of Eastern Indonesia, revolutionising the way people communicate. I work in a small regional university in Northern Australia (Charles Darwin University) very close to the Eastern Indonesian province of Nusa Tenngara Timur (NTT).

The landscape of NTT is largely rugged and infertile with a short and intense wet season. In this environment subsistence farming, the predominant livelihood, is marginal with many communities experiencing periods of hunger through the dry season. The provision of services to the rural population is difficult because there the few roads are generally of poor quality and frequently impassible in the wet season due to flooding or landslides. For many accessing health services requires walking long distances and the use of public transport where available. It is not uncommon for people in need of emergency care to be carried by a group of villagers to a point where road transport is available.