Strong support for mhealth initiatives

The mHealth Alliance this week won further investment from new and founding partners including HP, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad). The three organisations all agreed a $1m grant each, to help improve health care and health systems around the globe using mobile technology.

The mHealth Alliance aims to deliver healthcare at the furthest reaches of wireless networks and mobile devices. It was founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, together with the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation, and also counts the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), the GSM Association and HP as founding partners.

The latest round of funding will support the Health UnBound (HUB) online community that facilitates global knowledge-sharing and collaborative solution development, as well as the Maternal mHealth Initiative (MMI). This is a core project of the mHealth Alliance, which focuses on designing, developing, and delivering mhealth solutions to reduce maternal and infant mortality around the world through public-private partnerships and cross-sector collaboration.

“Wireless is essential to delivering health to unserved and underserved communities,” said David Aylward, executive director of the mHealth Alliance. “Villages may not have running water or even electricity, but in most cases at least one person has access to a mobile phone; soon 90 per cent of the world’s population will be within the coverage of wireless networks.”

Commenting on the Maternal mHealth Initiative, Tore Godal, special advisor for global health to the Prime Minister of Norway, said: “More than five billion people around the world already have a mobile phone. Our aim is to transform this into a tool that can be used to provide access to the information and services that save mothers’ lives and help them deliver healthy babies.”

In related news, Qualcomm has launched its Mobile Health Information System (MHIS) project – a 3G-capable mobile device, pre-loaded with a clinical library, designed to provide nurses in hospitals with access to medical resources.

The AED-SATELLIFE Center for Health Information and Technology, designed, planned and implemented the MHIS project in South Africa, with input from the Eastern Cape Department of Health, the Port Elizabeth Hospital Complex, MTN-South Africa, and the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

The MHIS project was designed to improve the ability of health care workers in urban and rural settings to care for their patients by providing them with locally relevant, reliable and accurate clinical device.

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