February 19, 2013. Mobile phones offer a powerful channel to improve disease surveillance through real-time reporting of infectious diseases and other health risks. In a partnership with Dominica's Ministry of Health, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Strengthening Health Outcomes through the Private Sector (SHOPS) project, led by Abt Associates, is piloting a mobile data collection initiative in Dominica. The pilot is aimed at increasing the participation in, and improving the efficiency of, reporting of communicable disease symptoms, including HIV/AIDS. SHOPS and LIME Dominica announced today a partnership to support the mobile data collection pilot.

SHOPS collaboration with LIME, the leading mobile operator in the Caribbean, helps ensure that health surveillance programs are designed and deployed to take advantage of the advances in mobile technology. Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding, LIME will provide technical and other assistance to optimize pilot design and future scale up of mobile data collection activities in Dominica and in the broader Caribbean region. The partnership demonstrates SHOPS commitment to leveraging private sector resources to improve health outcomes.

According to LIME Dominica's General Manager Jeffrey Baptiste, "the pilot provides an important opportunity to showcase the positive impact mobile phones can have on the health system and communities." Mr. Baptiste also serves as Chairman of The Country Coordinating Mechanism of the National HIV/AIDS Committee. Dominica's Chief Epidemiologist in the Health Information Unit of the Ministry of Health Dr. Paul Ricketts noted: "We look forward to learning what benefits health professionals on the front line will experience in providing more automated weekly reports and receiving more timely feedback on national threats."

The pilot was launched in November, 2012 and results will be reported in May, 2013.