The Challenge

The Kingdom of Tonga, an archipelago of 170 islands (36 inhabited), is spread over 700,000 square kilometers of ocean. Despite the geographic challenges, access to general healthcare services is good, with health outcomes among the best in the East Asia and Pacific Regions, according the World Health Organization.

However, critically, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) have become the leading cause of death in Tonga. Diabetes is the most prevalent NCD, affecting up to 34% of the population, numbering just over 100,000. Although Tonga’s public health system provides diabetes treatment and medication, access to specialized diabetes care is a challenge for those who do not reside on Tonga’s largest and most populated island, Tongatapu. Inaccessibility also means many go undiagnosed, unscreened or do not seek out care due to lack of health knowledge.

Gevity’s Role in the Solution

A client engaged Gevity to implement a technical assistance project to support selection, preparation and implementation of an mHealth strategy focused on combating the prevalence of diabetes through mDiabetes solutions.

Working together with the people of Tonga, Gevity ensured active engagement of local stakeholders, including ministry, hospital, health center and NGO staff in the project. Various preparatory activities were conducted to support the appropriate design, roll out, monitoring and evaluation of mDiabetes.

Effective Results

Gevity established consensus with local stakeholders and experts on clinical intervention priorities for diabetes prevention and population health management. The focus of the mDiabetes pilot program is on pregnancy and early childhood with the following interventions:

  • Mobile remote patient monitoring for high-risk gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) patients
  • The First 1000 Days Health Promotion Campaign for expecting and new parents, broadcast via targeted SMS messages or a custom-built mobile app

The planned interventions are expected to improve management of GDM patients and increase access to specialized care, increase health literacy in the country, reduce risk factors of diabetes among pregnant women and lead to better infant nutrition.