The United Nations Foundation and the the Vodafone Partnership, in conjunction the Rockerfeller Partnership announced the launch of the mHealth Alliance at today’s Mobile World Congress.

Founded in 2005 with a £10m commitment from the Vodafone Foundation matched by £5m from the United Nations Foundation, the partnership has three core commitments. First to develop a rapid response telecoms team to aid disaster relief, second to develop health data systems that that improve access to health data and thereby helping combat disease and third to promote research and innovative initiatives using technology as an agent and tool for international development.

The initial aims of the mHealth Alliance are to grow donor support and membership. The idea for the alliance emerged from a July 2008 Rockerfeller Foundation-hosted Making the eHealth Connection conference on the future of mHealth, in which participants identified the need to increase collaboration in cross-sector and pan-regional partnerships and to use the advantages that mobile communications offer to help deliver better healthcare in the developing world. Markets that undoubtedly represent the best areas of growth for global carriers and vendors alike.

Participants included representatives of Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Nokia and Qualcomm, as well as the Earth Institute, MIT and the World Health Organisation.