The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Orange have announced a new alliance to develop innovations in mobile health (mHealth) in developing countries across Africa.
The first phase of these health system-strengthening programs will leverage the expertise, technology and local resources of both organizations to improve quality of care and ensure that health services are readily accessible to the public at large.
Future services will use integrated mHealth platforms and Orange mobile networks to communicate alerts and share resources around family planning and maternal health. Healthcare workers will be able to use the technology to share medical expertise, collaborate with specialists regardless of location, and improve patient care. In addition, the public will be able to access health information via the mHealth platforms.
A maternal mHealth solution will provide medical practitioners access to the latest tools and medical information allowing them to monitor a mother’s pregnancy from a distance.
The goal of the alliance is to create a framework for easily replicating these important mobile services in a number of African countries throughout the region. In West Africa, USAID and Orange are starting to develop a regional platform with a menu of mobile applications that ministries of health, donors and NGOs could use for consumer education, health worker tools, mobile money, and data collection.
“There is a tremendous amount of good that mobile technology and digital innovations can bring to improve the quality of healthcare to those less fortunate,” said Thierry Zylberberg, director, Orange Healthcare.
“With the increasing use and decreasing cost of mobile phones, leveraging mobile phone technology to accelerate acces to health information and services is a game changer,” said Dr. Ariel Pablos-Méndez, USAID’s assistant administrator for Global Health.