The GSM Association, in conjunction with MTN Group and other partners, plans its Mobile for Development mHealth programme designed to provide a range of mHealth services to women and children, with a particular focus on nutrition, in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa.
Under the plan, partners will jointly launch services in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia from September 2014. The phase two of the programme, which commences in 2015, will be extended to Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.
According to GSMA, the initial launch partners for the initiative include Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi, Mobilium, MTN, Omega Diagnostics and Samsung. The partnership is expected to reduce barriers to handset ownership and connectivity for consumers and health workers.
Through the various commitments of the partnership, health content, patient registration, data collection and critical diagnostics will increase the access to health care for vulnerable women and children across Africa, while providing the delivery mechanism for mHealth services that are commercially sustainable and scalable, according to GSMA.
“This new mobile ecosystem partnership, developed by the GSMA, is committed to connecting the mobile and health industries to develop commercially sustainable mHealth services that meet public health needs,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The companies in this partnership are working to deliver the objectives of the United Nations Every Women Every Child Global Strategy, as well as the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, in the areas of nutrition and maternal and child health. We call on mobile ecosystem players, health providers, governments, NGOs, civil society and others to work with us to launch life-saving mobile health services.”
Pieter Verkade, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer says “This partnership heralds a new era in the delivery of health care in Sub-Saharan Africa, where currently access to even the most basic of health services remains the worst in the world. MTN is therefore proud to be part of this collaborative effort, which will deliver solutions that harnesses the expertise of some of the leading companies in the world, to improve access to health care for many of our customers across the seven launch countries.”