The mHealth Compendium Special Edition 2016: Reaching Scale presents ten in-depth profiles of mHealth programmes that have grown in scale over time. This edition follows on from a series of five mHealth Compendiums which were produced by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Africa Bureau project, African Strategies for Health (ASH), to help USAID missions, governments, and health implementing organisations access information on a range of mHealth example programmes. The series (see Related Summaries below) features over 150 case studies of mHealth programmes and applications being implemented mainly throughout Africa, but also in other regions of the world.
As explained in the introduction: “As the mHealth landscape has evolved and more programs and countries look to establish scaled, sustainable programs utilizing digital technology, the need for in-depth profiles of mHealth interventions or programs which have successfully grown in scale has grown.” The 10 case studies in this compendium were submitted by the programmes and were selected following a survey of the previously featured programmes, with the intention to select a range of intervention types, locations, and partner organisations. The document makes the point that this list is not an exhaustive list of scaled-up mHealth programmes.
The compendium starts off by explaining what mHealth is and discusses the rapidly evolving mHealth landscape. It also offers a set of guidelines that are meant to inform, but not dictate, the design and implementation of technology-enabled development programmes, as well as a list of key mHealth tools and resources.
Each case study includes details of the process, challenges, and lessons learned in growing an mHealth programme. The featured programmes are:
- Airtel Insurance - The Airtel/MicroEnsure partnership aimed to introduce millions of emerging consumers in Africa to their first health insurance products by offering simple cover, for free, aimed to establish trust through transparent, reliable operations. It then offered products for customers to increase options, creating a path to greater health insurance coverage.
- Aponjon - Aponjon (meaning “dear one(s)” in Bangla) aims to help to substantially reduce maternal and newborn deaths by improving health-seeking behaviours and preventive care among pregnant women, new mothers, and their families.
- cStock - This project uses mobile technology to improve community health supply chains for life-saving commodities in Malawi by using a combination of mobile technology, user-friendly dashboards, and quality-improvement teams.
- iCCM - Integrated Community Case Management is used in hard-to-reach areas to complement facility-based services. Health surveillance assistants use a mobile application to assist in providing health services to children under five years.
- Kilkari Mobile Academy, & Mobile Kunji - This programme scaled up free mobile health education to 1 million community health workers and 10 million women in partnership with the Government of India.
- mHERO - MHero is a two-way, mobile phone-based communication platform that uses basic text messaging, or SMS, to connect ministries of health and health workers. mHero operateson simple talk-and-text mobile devices—no smartphone or tablet required.
- MomConnect - The MomConnect technical solution has a number of linked elements that enable pregnant women in South Africa to receive information about their own health and also that of their infants. Women can both ask for more information and supply feedback to improve the quality of health care.
- mSOS - The mobile SMS-based disease outbreak alert system (mSOS) enhanced event-based disease surveillance and response efforts in Kenya through SMS reporting and web portal dashboards.
- RapidSMS Rwanda - This programme is designed to track the first 1000 days of life, preventing unnecessary mother and newborn deaths. The overarching goal in instituting RapidSMS was to make each pregnancy “everyone’s business.”
- U-Report - U-Report has been used as a focused mHealth application, specifically providing real-time mobile counselling and conducting coordinated polls on AIDS among adolescents and young people.
The African Strategies for Health Project website on May 31 2016.