Melissa Densmore

Melissa Densmore
University of Cape Town | UCT · Department of Computer Science

BA, MSc, PhD

About

49
Publications
10,423
Reads
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1,254
Citations
Introduction

Publications

Publications (49)
Article
Mobile devices are increasingly powerful and flexible tools for computing and communication. When ICTD workers are given a mobile phone "for work", what else do they do? And to what extent can or should an employer shape that use? This note presents research in progress, focused on rules that development projects impose to govern use of mobile devi...
Conference Paper
This paper looks back at the deployment of Claim Mobile, a smartphone-based data collection application developed for a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Southwest Uganda. This NGO subsidizes health facilities by paying for medical services on the basis of claims submitted after the patient consultation, targeting treatment of 99,000 clients b...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
When engaged in ICTD research, it is often simpler to focus efforts on a single specific technology, whether that entails computers for telecenters, mobile phones for data collection, or text messages for public health education. In practice, however, people and organizations use a variety of technologies together, smoothly interweaving them as the...
Conference Paper
In this article, we report on methodological reflections that emerged during community-based co-design workshops exploring maternal and child health challenges across four provinces in rural and urban South Africa. Based on these workshops, we present how cultural norms such as hlonipha facilitated learning opportunities for participants' engagemen...
Preprint
BACKGROUND Maternal and child health (MCH) is a major global health concern due to the increasing socioeconomic and healthcare inequalities, especially impacting low-and-middle-income countries (LMICs). Digital health technologies are creating opportunities to address the social determinants of maternal and child health by facilitating access to in...
Article
Full-text available
The proliferation of mobile phones across the world has contributed to the rise of mHealth interventions as a complementary means for improving health outcomes in areas where health facilities are limited. However, community members who do not own or have access to mobile devices feel excluded from such interventions. In this paper, we seek to unde...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Affordable Internet access has been critical for continued remote education and work-from-home environments during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, localized services made available through a community network can also provide high value for education, work and entertainment in communities that lack affordable access. Creating these localized servic...
Conference Paper
To increase the reception, adoption and implementation of human computer interaction and service design within Africa, this panel hopes to unpack the obstacles to its achievement as well help charter a way forward. This panel was the initiative of the South African Protea SIGCHI chapter, to increase the robustness and operationalisation of both are...
Chapter
The primary objective for this study is to investigate multi-stakeholder understanding of ownership of a community wireless network (CWN) located in Ocean View, Cape Town. This is important because ownership and stakeholder relations are components that contribute to the success of a CWN. Using the convenience and snowball sampling method, we compl...
Poster
Full-text available
Rhetoric around information and communications technology for development (ICT4D) often centers around giving 'have-nots' equal access to the internet. Access to information and social networking resources, it is posited, will lead to 'digital inclusion' and therefore positive social development. However, we argue that framing the problem around in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Commonly used WiFi is known to be ill-suited for penetrating vegetation and buildings and non-line-of-sight conditions. Television white space (TVWS) operates in ultra-high frequency (UHF) bands that overcome many of the penetration and line-of-sight challenges found in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands normally used by WiFi. The aim of this study is to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
There are several digital technologies which have been designed and successfully used to support mothers of preterm infants. However, none have been designed for application in the developing world context. For the existing interventions, none have involved mothers (who are the intended beneficiaries of these technologies) in the design process. Th...
Chapter
One of the most difficult, yet undocumented, aspects of information and communications technologies and development (ICTD) projects is that of establishing partnerships around which researchers’ interventions will develop, be tested and grow. Constraints on timing and funding usually lead to short-term projects, in which benefits are biased towards...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Designing mobile applications for breastfeeding mothers can be challenging; creating spaces to foster co-design -- when a mother's primary focus is on her child rather than on design activities - is even more so. In this paper we discuss the development of the Milk Matters mobile application, a tool developed to motivate women to donate their surpl...
Conference Paper
An ongoing challenge within the HCI research community is the development of community norms for research ethics in the face of evolving technology and methods. Building upon a successful town hall meeting at CHI 2017, this panel will include members of the SIGCHI Research Ethics Committee, but will be structured to facilitate a roundtable discussi...
Conference Paper
In recent years the evolving practice of co-design has continued to shift the roles of designers, researchers and the collection of partners formerly known as users. A growing community of researchers is pursuing this work "across borders." The greatly varied contexts of such work present distinctive challenges related to culture, power, language,...
Conference Paper
This paper presents a study of mobile data usage in South African townships. In contrast to previous studies, which have studied mobile data usage in developing regions (including South Africa), we focus our study on two townships in South Africa; the extremely resource-constrained nature of townships sheds light, for the first time, on how people...
Conference Paper
This paper presents a study of mobile data usage in South African townships. In contrast to previous studies, which have studied mobile data usage in developing regions (including South Africa), we focus our study on two townships in South Africa; the extremely resource-constrained nature of townships sheds light, for the first time, on how people...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Though every country and context is unique, and much of HCI research aims to design for situatedness, there are lessons to be learned across borders, across contexts. Questions we ask include: What are common themes that tie together different contexts? For instance, could a maternal health project in India benefit from lessons learned from a proje...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper seeks to bring scrutiny to 'Jugaad' as concept of user driven innovation in the context of ICTD research. We collate and organize a variety of definitions denoting adoption and innovation of technology in constrained eco systems. We attempt to bring a nuanced understanding of contextual processes supporting or hindering use adoption and...
Conference Paper
We are proposing a SIG designed for Human-Computer Interaction for Development (HCI4D) Community. It is designed to foster further collaboration, dissemination of research results and findings from practitioners, as well as to promote discussion of how we can both learn from each other and from those we serve in underserved communities wherever the...
Article
Short message service (SMS, aka text messaging) is a low-cost and effective means of communication for organizations attempting to maintain contact with many people. In this paper we look at the deployment and of a bulk mobile text-messaging platform (Bulk SMS), conceived and commissioned by a health non-governmental organization (NGO) for use in c...
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, we describe our experiences deploying long distance, point-to-point WiFi links in Ghana and Guinea Bissau, focusing on several challenges that are somewhat unique to these countries and this region of the world. In particular, the high cost of transportation, lack of locally produced materials and goods, shortage of technically train...
Conference Paper
Mobile phones are often pitched as the solution for Africa's development. This study examines the social changes entailed by the introduction of new technologies into a health subsidy program, and compares mobile phones and netbooks side by side in Southwest Uganda as potential health information management devices for private health facilities.
Conference Paper
Claim Mobile is a platform designed to support a project that subsidizes healthcare by reimbursing health service providers in Uganda for treatment of patients with sexually transmitted infections. As with many development projects, the Uganda Output-Based Aid (OBA) project involves a number of stakeholders: the service providers, the project imple...
Conference Paper
This paper examines two parallel case studies to promote remote medical consultation in Ghana. These projects, initiated independently by different researchers in different organizations, both deployed ICT solutions in the same medical community in the same year. The Ghana Consultation Network currently has over 125 users running a Web-based applic...
Conference Paper
This workshop continues the dialog on exploring the challenges in applying, extending, and inventing appropriate methods and contributions of Humancentered Computing (HCC) to International economic and community development, borne out of tremendously successful HCI4D workshops at CHI 2007 and 2008. The workshop aims at 1) providing a platform to di...
Article
The paper is available (open access) from: https://www.itidjournal.org/index.php/itid/article/view/420/188
Conference Paper
Background: Providing effective healthcare in poor countries is an essential component to economic development and population wellbeing; however, efficiently financing it is difficult. In Uganda, the Ministry of Health is running a pilot of the output-based aid (OBA) healthcare finance model, linking payment of healthcare providers to services rend...
Article
All of the countries within Africa experience a serious shortage of medical professionals, particularly specialists, a problem that is only exacerbated by high emigration of doctors with better prospects overseas. As a result, those that remain in Africa, particularly those practicing in rural regions, experience a shortage of specialists and other...
Article
Computer-mediated communication systems can be used to bridge the gap between doctors in underserved regions with local shortages of medical expertise and medical specialists worldwide. To this end, we describe the design of a prototype remote consultation system intended to provide the social, institutional and infrastructural context for sustaine...
Article
Full-text available
The work we've done in the world's developing regions has been immensely rewarding and helped make us all strong advocates for technology. The first reward is simply the experience of these countries, their surprising happiness, and the technology insights that come from being there. The deeper reward is of course actually helping people by creatin...
Article
Full-text available
Moore's Law and the wave of technologies it enabled have led to tremendous improvements in productivity and the quality of life in the industrialized world. Yet, technology has had almost no effect on the four billion people that make less US$2000/day. In this talk I argue that the decreasing costs of computing and wireless networking make this the...
Article
Full-text available
Alongside good governance, technology is considered among the greatest enablers for improved quality of life. However, the majority of its benefits have been concentrated in industrialized nations and therefore limited to a fraction of the world's population. We believe that technology has a large role to play in developing regions, that "First Wor...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The recently proposed Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) architecture aims at supporting efficient message- based communication over intermittent networks. This paper describes our experience in creating and evaluating a DTN reference implementation. We found that several concepts are not fully specified in the DTN literature, including the treatment...
Article
Sensor network deployments may be far removed from com-munications infrastructure such as the Internet. Yet, to be maximally useful, these networks of sensors must ultimately be connected to data storage and analysis facilities. Provid-ing connectivity for such networks may involve exotic and unusual methods of data transfer. In addition, within su...
Article
Recent years have seen a burgeoning interest in the use of information and communications technologies for development (ICT4D/ICTD). In academia, this has manifested itself as evaluations of Internet kiosks (e.g. e-Choupal, Akshaya, telecentre.org) and other ICTD interventions, as well as projects like One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), Wireless Long Dis...

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