Development of a cellphone based monitoring and management-support system for anti-retroviral therapy

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

HIV/Aids has had a major impact on global society since its discovery in 1981.Over the last two decades, HIV treatment research has resulted in the developmentof antiretroviral (ARV) drug therapy and treatment. However, there are many challenges to ARV Therapy (ART) and these challenges are further extended in the resource limited developing world, where the majority of infections occur. Therefore, ART is regarded as not only a medical challenge, but a logistical, monitoring and management challenge that requires the development and implementation of supporting systems. The Cell-Life system is a prototype engineering concept that uses locally available ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies), such as GSM (Global System for Mobile) and Internet connectivity to provide monitoring and management support for ART. This dissertation is an investigation and development of the system in order to create an effective solution for public health sector clinics.The investigation process is based upon a user-centred HCI (Human Computer Interface) model and it is carried out on five components of the system: cellphonemenu applications, SMS data submission and database integration, web applications, servers and user guide and training. This research has resulted in a progressive advancement and transformation of the prototype concept through the development, testing and pilot site implementation of an updated suite of components with valuable findings from usability testing. This study confirms that locally available ICTs can be developed to empower the resource limited clinic level public health sector to overcome some of the challenges of ART. This essentially contributes to bridging the “digital divide” and providing support in the developing context.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 129-135).