WHO e-Pocket book app: helping save children’s lives in Kyrgyzstan and Russian Federation

A smartphone app based on the popular WHO “Pocket book of hospital care for children” has received an overwhelmingly positive response from child health practitioners in Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Federation, with users reporting the free app as essential in helping them save the lives of thousands of young patients.

Describing the app as “a truly revolutionary event in paediatrics,” Vladimir Fyodorovich Shin, Head of the City Children’s Hospital No. 1 in Rostov-on-Don, emphasized the changes which both the original Pocketbook and now the mobile app version had brought about.

“The compact format of the books facilitated their easy availability for the paediatricians and the nurses, and played a key role in perfecting, or more accurately, revolutionizing the inpatient medical services for the children of the Rostov-on-Don area. But the development of the mobile version became a truly revolutionary event in paediatrics. The necessity and effectiveness of the app has already been proven in practice,” he stated. “The fundamental methods of treatment changed, the internal control system of quality and safety of medical services changed, the use of medical therapy and laboratory and other equipment was reconsidered and the cost of therapy decreased, which led to more funds being made available.”

The app, launched late last year in Russian and in a specifically designed Kyrgyzstan edition, focuses on the major causes of childhood mortality, such as neonatal illness, pneumonia and other breathing problems, diarrhoea, severe malnutrition, fevers, HIV and surgical problems including trauma and burns.

It includes guidance for each stage of a child’s management: triage and emergency treatment, history and examination, laboratory investigation and diagnosis, supportive care and monitoring, discharge planning and follow-up – with guidelines aligned with national rules and regulations on clinical treatment. User-friendly features include a search function, interactive reference links, full size illustrations and even formulas for calculating medication dosages – plus all guidelines can be viewed offline.
Health workers in the 2 countries described the app as being convenient, accessible, easy to understand and highly useful in the treatment and management of their young patients, and even as an information resource for their families.

“In our post-Soviet region, including in Kyrgyzstan, the paediatric inpatient care was a little forgotten, in the sense that doctors treated children with old, basic knowledge,” says Dr Shukurova Kojonovna, Head of the Department of Children's Diseases at the Kyrgyz State Medical Institute for Training and Retraining. “In our country, there is a shortage of staff, particularly paediatricians, so for general practitioners the app is very useful. It’s useful for surgeons, gynaecologists, therapists and even ordinary parents, because parents who do not have the proper knowledge and experience can put their children in risky situations at home.”

“There is a lot of useful information in the application,” confirms Dr Alieva Muratovna, Infectious Disease Specialist at the Republican Clinical Infectious Diseases Hospital, Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. “I even advise it for some parents of our little patients… as not all parents are doctors, they do not have basic knowledge about infectious diseases.”

The WHO Children at Hospital app (in Russian, and the edition specifically designed for Kyrgyzstan) are both available and free to download on both iOS and Android devices. For further information, or to download the app, visit the WHO Children at Hospital app page.