Doing what everyone else is doing
As this growth has occurred, more than 100 countries are exploring ways to use mobile phones to improve health.
"The information technology is not revolutionary its use in health is," says Dr. Schweitzer. "We are talking about applying in health care the same kinds of sophisticated information systems that most businesses use, extending them with wireless to reach everyone. In low and middle- income countries we have the opportunity to leap frog the developed world and do it right. This is a huge opportunity."
Some issues being addressed
The recently announced Maternal mHealth Initiative, a partnership between PMNCH and the mHealth Alliance, will develop a global consensus on mobile technology. The new partnership will conduct trials using an integrated information and communications technology system to underpin the full continuum of recommended care for expectant mothers and newborns.
The Earth Institute's Millennium Villages Project is working with governments and ministries of health along with telecommunications companies like Ericsson, AirTel Bharti, and MTN in 10 countries in Africa, to design, test, and implement standardized and interoperable mHealth systems. "Many countries are looking at mHealth as a strategy for health service delivery," says Patricia Mechael, PhD, of The Earth Institute.
In 1994, the University of Oslo began the Health Information Systems Programme (HISP). It developed the open source based District Health Information Software (DHIS) implemented in 15 African countries and 23 states in India, Bangladesh and Vietnam.
In the last two years, HISP has started to use basic cell phones to collect data on maternal and child health in an integrated manner where there are no computers or Internet. Because of the collaboration with ministers of health, the HISP program differs from other mobile projects.
"Data goes into the
|Contact: Marshall Hoffman|
Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health