【FOCUS】Improve public service to ensure good health and well-being

2023-02-06 17:58:18

With the acceleration of global urbanization, people's pursuit of health and well-being has become more urgent. Ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for all is an essential part of sustainable development as well as social development and human civilization. To this end, cities are constantly improving their public service systems by applying new science and technology, giving us many new ideas to safeguard people's livelihoods. Today's In Focus will show you four initiatives that promote people's health and well-being through technology.

Bandung City Government, Indonesia

OMABA Cooking Centre for Managing Malnourished and Stunting Children

In the past, the prevalence rate of malnourished children and stunting children in Indonesia was a global concern. Ironically, it doesn't merely occur in 3T areas (frontier, outermost, backward) but also found in metropolitan areas such as Bandung, the capital city of West Java Province. In order to solve this problem, Bandung Public Health Service (Puskesmas) put forward the OMABA project.

The project proposes that supplemental foods should be nutritional as well as taste-friendly, so as to increase children's acceptance. Under its guidance, a collective cooking center is also set up, where residents take turns preparing processed food. Those foods are delivered to targeted children with a motorcycle taxi by agent of Family Welfare Program (PKK), which has reducing the prevalence of stunting and mortality among children in the areas.

The initiative has directly improved the nutritional status of children under five in the pilot district. Malnourished children’s cases number decreased from 29 in 2013 to 0 in 2019. The initiative has also facilitated its members, most of whom are females, with food-producing skills and entrepreneurship passion. It goes beyond the conventional programs of supplementary food distribution, avoiding the mismatch between supply and demand due to government limitations and agency loss in bureaucracy.

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São José Dos Pinhais, Brazil

Digital technology and social participation in surveillance and definition of priority areas and act 

Urban expansion in São José dos Pinhais has influenced wildlife habitat, exposing both humans and animals to the risk of infectious diseases. In recent years, there was a bulge in the number of yellow fever cases. To prevent an outbreak of an epidemic, the municipal government of São José dos Pinhais launched a public health campaign using SISS-Geo, a mobile application designed by the Brazilian government.

SISS-Geo is a platform that combines photography, location and information collection as one and now becomes an important aid in monitoring animal epidemics. SISS-Geo enables its users to record and locate any carcass or potentially polluted areas they find to the municipal health ministry. By integrating citizens with the public health monitoring program, SISS-Geo enhances the public health ministry’s competence to monitor environmental condition. In addition to the data collected through smartphones, SISS-Geo also processes relationships among large amounts of data through machine learning to build computational models and identify factors for the emergence of yellow fever.

Today, SISS-Geo is a "one-stop health" center in Brazil. With SISS-Geo's recorded data and the involvement of health teams and communities, people in the southern region of Brazil are pre-vaccinated before the spread of yellow fever. From July 2019 to June 2020, though cases of infection reported, there are no deaths in the state.

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Kahramanmaras, Türkiye

Smart Elder Care System (YADES) 

The metropolitan municipality of Kahramanmaras has a population of 1.15 million, among which nearly 100,000 are over the age of 65. For this age group, especially those with mobility challenges, self-care is also a challenge. Within the framework of the national “Yades 2016 Smart Elderly Care and Coordination Centre Project”, the municipality is taking care of its senior residents with this initiative.

The Smart Elder Care System is an intelligent follow-up and call system installed in the homes of residents of 65 years of age or above. In the event of an emergency, such as fire, natural gas leak, smoke, or flood, the system will automatically convey the information to the Smart Elder Care Call Centre, which is staffed with trained personnel all day long. In addition to this automatic detection and reporting system, the residents can use the emergency button as well to report any health crisis or injury.

 The initiative prioritizes senior residents who have mental/physical health issues or who live alone. Until the 2020 Guangzhou Award, a total of 400 homes are being served remotely. Since its launch in 2016, 6,000 thousand people have benefited from this initiative.

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Songpa, Republic Of Korea

Smart Doctor

Songpa, with a population of over 680,000, is a district located in the southeast Seoul. With an ageing population, the district expected a surge of mortalities from chronic diseases as well as healthcare expenses. Notably, the medical expense for hypertension in Songpa increased by 549% from 2006 to 2010. To counter this trend, Songpa implemented the Smart Doctor Initiative.

This project aims to establish an ICT-based public service system for health management. 50 smart healthcare zones and unmanned mobile kiosks were set up for citizens to enjoy free healthcare services, including measurement of weight, body composition and blood pressure. "Health managers" and the "health inspector generals" were selected from the community to work as project operators, who were responsible for carrying out publicity work, monitoring operations, and collecting community feedback.

Smart Doctor has been selected by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare as an exemplary model initiative. It is of great help to communities with limited access to public health agencies and has attracted nearly 80,000 registered users.

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