KOPERNIK PARTNERS WITH OTSUKA PHARMACEUTICAL AND JICA TO ASSIST TB PATIENTS IN INDONESIA WITH MOBILE PHONE APP
Declared by the World Health Organisation (WHO, 2015) as one of the world’s most fatal infectious diseases, Tuberculosis (TB) has been included in the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals agenda to be eradicated by 2030. Even now, the TB bacterium does not discriminate, infecting people from a broad range of socio-economic backgrounds and regions around the world.
To address this critical issue, Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are working in partnership with the consulting arm of Kopernik by localizing a mobile technology to support TB patients. This 24-month project was launched at the end of 2015 with the aim to create a high-impact, cost-effective intervention that increases patient adherence to TB treatment by empowering patients through a mobile phone application. Throughout the project implementation, Kopernik has provided assistance in desk research, rapid assessments and application testing, while working closely with key stakeholders, TB patients, family members, and healthcare providers.
Research has shown that providing knowledge about TB and treatment best practice is one of the best ways to increase patient compliance with the treatment regimen and fight the disease. The mobile app currently being tested in this project allows patients to track their treatment progress, receive notifications and alerts, learn relevant information about TB, and use special features, such as e-consultation and supporters’ messaging system. The ultimate goal is to boost patients’ motivation to complete their medication for their health, as well as public health purposes.
In this information age, internet expansion has in many ways simplified our ability to access to information. Additionally, in an emerging economy like Indonesia, smartphone users are growing rapidly every year. Therefore, the internet and phone technology present themselves as viable, and possibly pivotal, tools to support effective TB patient treatment and provide access to reliable information about the disease. A distinguishing feature of this app is that it targets TB patients directly. While, to date, other mobile technology products have primarily focused on healthcare providers.
On 1st February 2017, the project began recruiting patients in three TB-specialized Indonesian hospitals to voluntarily use the app for six months. Through data analysis and interviews, Kopernik seeks to obtain insights into enabling factors and barriers to drug treatment. Results and recommendations of this project will be shared with key stakeholders in the Indonesian TB sector towards the end of 2017.