Zena first used Hesperian's book "Where There Is No Doctor" when she was serving in the Peace Corps in Ghana in 2003. At the time, she couldn't have imagined using the book on a cell phone -- but just a few years later, as one of the younger editors on the Hesperian staff, she found herself in the middle of the organization’s efforts to marry its strong tradition of creating empowering health material in print with new digital technologies.
It was clear that Hesperian’s first challenge would be thinking about how to break long material into smaller, more flexible pieces without losing the low-literacy, action-focused approach of their full-length books. Zena, and the others on the mobile team, started the same way their partners have for years -- by physically cutting and pasting parts of different books on one central topic, and re-arranging them. With the help of technology partners, priceless volunteer hours, and a shared vision, Hesperian eventually transformed those scraps of paper from 600-page books into a 100-screen app.
The majority of mobile health efforts in developing countries thus far have been on data collection and ensuring community health workers follow protocol. Zena is excited to add getting accessible, trustworthy, and lifesaving health information into the hands of community health workers to the mhealth agenda.
In addition to mobile work, Zena is coordinating the major revision of Hesperian’s classic book "Where There Is No Doctor".
Hesperian Health Guides is a nonprofit health information and health education source that has adapted our trusted health content to create our first mobile app, Safe Pregnancy and Birth.