The work of the Instituto Carlos Slim de la Salud (the Carlos Slim Health Institute, formerly the Carso Institute) is based on the belief that, if empowered with the right information, people will choose to live healthier lifestyles. Founded in 2007, the Institute promotes research, develops initiatives, and funds projects intended to impact health challenges that affect Mexico and the broader Latin American and Caribbean region. It particularly seeks to design and finance sustainable public health innovations, including those using mobile technology - mHealth initiatives - that foster a culture of self-care and develop health possibilities using human capital.
The Slim Institute's mHealth platform incorporates the use of mobile phone, fixed line phones, and the internet, enabling users to access and interact with programme using the communications tools most convenient to them. It has three cellphone-based programmes under the umbrella title of "Conectados con tu Salud Salud", called CardioNet for evaluating risk of heart disease, VidaNet for those people living with HIV, and DiabeDiario for those living with diabetes.
To tackle the rising incidence of diabetes, the Institute is developing an mHealth tool called Diabediario - a combination of the words "diabetes" and "diario," or diary. This programme is designed to promote drug compliance and to aid patients in gaining control over key indicators, such as weight, blood pressure, and glucose levels. The Institute is currently exploring models that would enable this programme to be brought to scale free-of-charge to end users.
The Slim Institute also manages a cardiovascular mHealth programme called Vive Sano ("Live Healthy") that encourages individuals to assess their heart health and receive educational messages to their phones toward healthier living, such as smoking cessation or weight control. Through a partnership with the wireless telephone company Telcel, text messages are donated, making the entire programme cost-free to the end user.
The Slim Institute's mHealth programme addresses infectious diseases, such as HIV, as well. The Slim Institute's VidaNet, a cellphone texting system for those taking antiretroviral drugs (ARVs), enables users to subscribe and register their health indicators, such as body weight and viral load, using web and mobile-based software. The programme aids in drug adherence while promoting patient empowerment and self-management.
The ClikiSalud web portal is a health education portal designed to help individuals find information to help them participate in their own health care. It includes a section geared for adolescents to explore and discover health and nutritional information through entertainment, such as videos on how the body functions.
The Institute has a programme on mother and child care intended to contribute to lowering maternal and infant mortality rates through conferences and training using its technical strategies on "co-responsible communities" developed in a series of notebooks available to public and private organisations working in maternal and infant healthcare.
The Observatorio de la Salud - Health Observatory is a collaborative website in partnership with the Consejo Promotor de Competitividad y Salud de la Fundación Mexicana para la Salud. It provides internet-based information on health, links to news articles and research, links to health systems by region, a compilation of analyses and evaluations, and a location for the sharing of experience, methods, innovation, data, and evidence among countries and institutions on public health issues. The Institute also supports a series of web-based and freely available public service announcement visual aids, one focused on the virus H1N1 and one on hygiene.
Health, ICT for Development, HIV, Maternal Health, Nutrition.
In Mexico, the incidence of non-communicable diseases is on the rise, according to Mexican Health Observatory data. In 1980, for example, non-infectious diseases represented less than 50% of the mortality rate; in 2000, that number had jumped to nearly 75%, according to the World Health Organization. In 2008, an estimated 170,000 new HIV infections occurred throughout Latin America, bringing the number of people there living with HIV to an estimated 2 million, according to the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). Diabetes, a preventable disease depending on the type diagnosed, is the leading cause of death among Mexican women and men, according to the Mexican Health Observatory data (2006). Currently some 9,500 people and institutions in Mexico are using Slim Institute's solutions - numbers expected to reach 350,000 in 2010.
Consejo Promotor de Competitividad y Salud de la Fundación Mexicana, Telcel
mPulse Newsletter: Volume 2 Issue 1, January 28 2010.