Jamra primary scholl for children affected by HIV/AIDS, drugs or poverty, Senegal (c) Nell Freeman/Alliance Participants in the Photovioce project, Ecuador © Marcela Nievas for the Alliance
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Alliance speaking at mobile healthcare conference


Aids Alliance

Paul Higgins, Head of ICT and Farai Matsika, Data Analyst at the Alliance on the challenges and opportunities of mHealth and the work the Alliance has been doing in this sector.

Speaking at the Mobile Healthcare Industry Summit 2010 this week in London, Paul and Farai demonstrated how the Alliance has been using a number of mhealth technologies from text messaging patients for treatment adherence to piloting recording data in the field using Apple iPads and demonstrating how training courses could be delivered in challenging environments using pico projectors.

The Summit

The Summit was billed as a ‘conference of global excellence and inspiration in mobile healthcare with over 60 executive speakers and driving forces in wireless healthcare enablement and sports wellness innovation.’

Case studies being presented there included Telefonica, New Economic Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Health Department, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria and a mobile pilot supporting the delivery of Health MDGs, as well as the Alliance.

Topics being discussed included:

  • How can mobile healthcare be monetised for all players?
  • How can Accessibility for Health/Wellness Be Best Built-In At Source?
  • Cost Saving and Chronic Illness: Why Healthcare Needs a New Approach and Now
  • Placing the Patient at the Centre of Wireless Healthcare for Successful Health Innovation in Services and Design

Key themes at the conference

  • There is a severe lack of resources in the NGO sector and it is vital that organisations do not ‘reinvent the wheel’ or create lots of different mHealth solutions for the same problems. One solution to this is to facilitate greater collaboration so organisations can take advantage of economies of scale, sharing development costs. It was felt that NGOs should collaborate with other NGOs and NGOs should collaborate with mobile providers and hardware manufacturers.
  • Mobile health devices are technically 2-3 years ahead of implementation. It is therefore important that mobile operators and hardware manufacturers work closely with organisations with knowledge of the local communities and cultures to ensure they can be successfully implemented.
  • Studies have been published recently that show that an increase in mobile phone use can help increase GNP and help develop economies. An increase in the use of mobiles can contribute to the growth of developing countries/economies.
  • There is significant usage and coverage of mobile technology in developing countries - especially in many countries where the Alliance works. This presents opportunities for NGOs to reach hard to reach communities through innovative uses of mobile technology.

Paul Higgins said after the conference: ‘The Alliance will continue to look for opportunities to use mHealth to help deliver our work supporting community action to prevent HIV infection. Working with partners such as Telefonica 02 and Cisco, we are already beginning to see how the use of technology can really help us to deliver.’

Read more about the Alliance’s work with Telefonica 02 and Cisco.

    This presents opportunities for NGOs to reach hard to reach communities through innovative uses of mobile technology