Diagnosis and treatment of illness is not a simple task. However, only 5 years ago, everyone with fever in countries with malaria was treated for malaria. Today, even the most remote community health worker will do a test for malaria and treat only those who are positive. Diabetes, once a disease of the wealthy is now a common (and treatable) problem among the poor. This double burden of disease puts added stress on the health system and the health worker ill equipped to manage this complex world of both acute and chronic disease. Frontline health workers need simple tools to accurately identify and treat illness and to manage their patients with chronic diseases.
Whether diagnosing patients with malaria or TB, supporting patients with HIV/AIDS or malnutrition or tracking referrals among different levels of the health system, D-tree International has improved the ability of health workers to correctly diagnose a problem, effectively educate clients about their care and maintain a record of those needing long term support. Our work has shown that the use of electronic decision support by frontline health workers can make an important difference in the quality of care given in hospitals, clinics and at the community level.