MBody health: Digitizing disabilities in Sierra Leone

Emma Hebert, William Ferguson, Spencer McCullough, Margaret Chan, Arsen Drobakha, Sarah Ritter, Khanjan Mehta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Disability and poverty are linked in a vicious cycle in the developing world. With limited access to healthcare resources, the disabled population often lacks necessary diagnosis, treatment, and medication. They experience stigma and neglect within their communities. With severely limited healthcare and education for disabilities, both the disabled population and the community remain unaware of not only prevention and treatment but also of social realities and the mistake of stigmatization. In Sierra Leone, a number of social, private, and public sector entities have embraced the opportunity to offer informal disability screening and education through a mobile application (app) preinstalled on smartphones. The app development team has since identified relevant disabilities; compiled a database of descriptions, causes, symptoms, treatments, and support resources; and designed a screening tool. The initial version of the app was field tested in Sierra Leone in May 2016, including extensive engagement with health workers and community members. This article reviews the strategic case for the app, its initial design, the results of field testing, and current and future trajectories for the venture.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGHTC 2016 - IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference
Subtitle of host publicationTechnology for the Benefit of Humanity, Conference Proceedings
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781509024322
StatePublished - 2016
Event6th Annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2016 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Oct 13 2016Oct 16 2016

Publication series

NameGHTC 2016 - IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference: Technology for the Benefit of Humanity, Conference Proceedings


Other6th Annual IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, GHTC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Health(social science)
  • Communication
  • Political Science and International Relations


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