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Trop Med Infect Dis. 2018 Sep 15;3(3). pii: E102. doi: 10.3390/tropicalmed3030102.

The Development of a Mobile Application to Support Peripheral Health Workers to Diagnose and Treat People with Skin Diseases in Resource-Poor Settings.

Author information

1
Technical Department, Netherlands Leprosy Relief, 1090 HA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. L.Mieras@Leprastichting.nl.
2
Technical Department, Netherlands Leprosy Relief, 1090 HA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. A.Taal@Leprastichting.nl.
3
Challenge TB, KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Jakarta 12870, Indonesia. Erik.Post@KNCVtbc.org.
4
Technical Department, Netherlands Leprosy Relief, Maputo, Mozambique. AlcinoNdeve@nlrmoz.org.
5
Department of Dermatology, Erasmus Medical Centre, 3000 CA Rotterdam, The Netherlands. C.vanHees@ErasmusMC.nl.

Abstract

The high prevalence of skin diseases in resource-poor settings, where health workers with sufficient knowledge of skin diseases are scarce, calls for innovative measures. Timely diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases, especially neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) that manifest with skin lesions, such as leprosy, is crucial to prevent disabilities as well as psychological and socioeconomic problems. Innovative technological methods like telemedicine and mobile health (mHealth) can help to bridge the gap between the burden of skin diseases and the lack of capable staff in resource-poor settings by bringing essential health services from central level closer to peripheral levels. Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR) has developed a mobile phone application called the 'SkinApp', which aims to support peripheral health workers to recognize the early signs and symptoms of skin diseases, including skin NTDs, and to start treatment promptly or refer for more advanced diagnostic testing or disease management when needed. Further research is needed to determine how greatly mHealth in general and the SkinApp in particular can contribute to improved health outcomes, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness.

KEYWORDS:

NTDs; dermatology; leprosy; mHealth; mobile phone application; skin diseases

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