GSMA Announces M-Health Partnership Across Sub-Saharan Africa

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This Inter-Industry Partnership by GSMA is set to Connect Mobile and Health Industries, With a Focus on Maternal and Child Health in a Region With Over 15 Million Pregnant Woman

The GSMA has announced that its Mobile for Development mHealth programme has launched a new cross-ecosystem partnership designed to provide a range of mHealth services to women and children, with a particular focus on nutrition, across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Initial launch partners for this initiative include Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi, Mobilium, MTN, Omega Diagnostics and Samsung. This programme could have far-reaching impact; according to GSMA Intelligence, there is a total annual, addressable market of 15.5 million pregnant women and mothers with children under five years of age.

“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.”

The partners will jointly launch services in seven countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia – from September 2014. Phase two, which commences in 2015, will incorporate additional partners and services and will address four more countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. Collectively, the partnership will reduce barriers to handset ownership and connectivity for consumers and health workers by committing to: Offer discounted Samsung handsets and tablets to consumers and health workers across Africa.

Through these commitments, the partners aim to simplify the relationships between mobile and health stakeholders, while maximising the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology and its capabilities for health providers and, ultimately, for patients. 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.

“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,” said MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer, Pieter Verkade.

“Current lab based static diagnostics tools are unable to meet growing patients’ needs as countries step up their HIV treatment programs in conjunction with the decentralisation of CD4 testing.  Multi-layer partnerships for mHealth smartphone applications are poised to become an essential foundation in the bridge to augment the continuum of care to the neediest patients, whilst also providing management information and real time surveillance data,” said Andrew Shepherd, Founder and Managing Director, Omega Diagnostics Ltd.

“Healthcare in Africa has benefited greatly from advancements in mobile technology. Simultaneously, the healthcare industry is moving towards a delivery model that is more patient-centered, value-based and accessible in even remote environments. In this regard, Samsung is perfectly positioned to add value to this digital evolution in healthcare, as our devices are both at the cutting edge of innovation and available widely across the continent. These capabilities provide the much needed healthcare support in Africa, ensuring that we are aligned with the Millennium Development Goals as set by the United Nations,” said Thabiet Allie, Head of Content and Services at Samsung Electronics Africa.


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TelecomDrive Bureau covers the latest developments happening in the space of communications, devices and innovations in targeted geographies of India, SAARC, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa regions.TelecomDrive Bureau is headed by Zia Askari. He can be reached at ziaaskari@telecomdrive.com