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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and other tropical diseases primarily affect people in developing and underserved parts of the world where healthcare infrastructure, resources and trained personnel are scarce. Smartphones, connected to the internet and running innovative health-applications — "apps" — have shown promise to bridge gaps in access to healthcare in even the most remote areas. Using participatory and human centered-design methods, we developed a mobile application for Android smartphones that supports community health workers to screen potential cases of CL in rural settings. We developed this application using a previously validated clinical prediction rule and tested it with patients, community workers and health workers in the municipality of Tumaco on the Pacific Coast of Colombia. Results from this study showed that the mobile app was easy to use, could detect cutaneous leishmaniasis in over 95% of cases, and reduced the time to diagnosis by half compared to passive case detection dependent on consultation at referral facilities. Overall, this work showed the value of designing health interventions with early engagement of all users, and supports the general use of mobile health applications for neglected tropical disease research and care.
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