Children's Health

Winners of Vodafone Awards Showcase mHealth Innovations

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 14, 2011

On Monday, Vodafone and the mHeatlh Alliance announced the winners of the Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project and the mHealth Alliance Award. Although all three winning projects focus on health applications of mobile technology, each project has an entirely different focus: in first place, NETRA uses a clip-on device for mobile phones to quickly diagnose eye disorders; in second place, SMART Diaphragm monitors high-risk pregnancies by wirelessly transmitting information to physicians; and in third place is Cool Comply, a system designed for community health workers to keep medications cool and to allow them to stay in contact with patients.

Mobiles for Development

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Mar 18, 2011
Mobiles for Development data sheet 3664 Views
Kojo Boakye, Nigel Scott, Claire Smyth
Publication Date: 
Oct 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Mobiles for Development is a research study commissioned by UNICEF to help the organization understand the global mobile telephony landscape as it relates to advancing development, and as an area of significant future opportunities. Evidence for the report comes from UNICEF operational staff and representatives of mobile operators in 14 countries (Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Iraq, Kosovo, Lao PDR, Malawi, Mongolia, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Uganda, and Zambia). The report suggests that mobile tools can identify the most deprived children and communities, provide cost effective iinterventions, overcome bottlenecks to services, and enable communities to maximize the impact of available resources.

Lessons from m-Health Projects: The Tech is the Easy Part

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 08, 2011

Adherence reminders, patient data transmission via community health workers, HIV/AIDs info services – mobile phones can be used in a variety of health settings. As mobiles have become cheaper and more easily available around the world, mobile health projects have followed, taking advantage of the devices’ data storage capabilities, information transferring potential, and social networking features.

MobileActive has covered the m-health area extensively as NGOs, aid organizations, and governments continue to launch new projects incorporating ICTs into their work. Organizations like the Praekelt Foundation, which runs multiple mobile health projects, Pesinet, a micro-insurance and community health worker data collection tool, Dimagi, which developed CommCare (a project that helps community health workers promote healthy behaviors in patients), and MoTeCH, a Grameen Foundation project that uses mobiles to send medical advice to pregnant women and young parents along with creating a data managing resource for community health workers, are exploring the potential that mobile technology offers for delivering health care.

Looking at some of these organizations’ experiences, we put together a list of key lessons organizations are learning as they develop m-health projects:

SMS to 9444: Rural Mobile Health Information in Jordan

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Feb 18, 2011

In Jordan, a new program called SOHITCOM (Social Health and IT for Rural Communities) uses mobile phones and web-based technology to improve access to maternal and early childhood healthcare information.

Developed by the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan in a partnership with Canadian funder IDRC, SOHITCOM is part of a larger program promoting and developing ICT4D in the Middle East. A two-part project, SOHITCOM is both a vaccination adherence service and a health information portal for rural Jordanians.

SMS to 9444: Rural Mobile Health Information in Jordan data sheet 3846 Views
Countries: Jordan

Using Mobile Phones and Open Source Tools to Empower Social Workers in Tanzania

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 12, 2011
Using Mobile Phones and Open Source Tools to Empower Social Workers in Tanzania data sheet 2179 Views
Dias, M. Beatrice, Daniel Nuffer, Anthony Velazquez, Ermine A. Teves, Hatem Alismail, Sarah Belousov, M. Freddie Dias, Rotimi Abimbola, Bradley Hall, and M. Bernardine Dias
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Although para-social workers carry the primary responsibility in providing essential services to the growing population of orphans and vulnerable children in Tanzania, they are often not paid for this work. Moreover, these para-social workers are unable to access governmental resources due to the lack of an efficient means of reporting their needs to relevant government officials in a timely manner.

In this paper we describe a text message (SMS) based solution that harnesses the prevalence of mobile phones coupled with several Open Source tools to empower these para-social workers. Specifically, we build a more efficient mechanism for reporting summary data on orphans and vulnerable children to relevant government officials in a cost-effective and efficient manner. This paper reports on our needs assessment process, reviews the related work, describes the implementation and testing of our prototype solution, and concludes with a discussion of relevant future work.

Assessing the Scope for Use of Mobile-Based Solution to Improve Maternal and Child Health in Bangladesh: A Case Study

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 12, 2011
Assessing the Scope for Use of Mobile-Based Solution to Improve Maternal and Child Health in Bangladesh: A Case Study data sheet 2012 Views
Alam, Mafruha, Tahmina Khanam, and Rubayat Khan
Publication Date: 
Jan 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Patient data collection and emergency health service is the primary challenge in developing countries. Risk assessment of pregnant mother and healthcare based on priority is almost impossible in present health service of Bangladesh.

A pilot study was done in three urban slums of Dhaka where BRAC health workers were provided with mobiles. A smart algorithm was incorporated in the mobiles. The mobile solution came up with useful findings. The health workers now could send data directly to central MIS system which reduced previous time lag. A secure web page contained all the patient data which was accessible by BRAC Personnel from anywhere any time. An automated risk assessing decision tree categorized the patients depending on their risk levels for timely treatment.

The mobile solution proposed a pro-active, cost-effective platform for rapid health service for pregnant mothers and neonates with reduced manpower.

How to Work With Operators (Part One)

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Jan 09, 2011

Mobile-based projects for social change can be found in any issue area: mobile health, mobile money, initiatives that promote advocacy, citizen journalism, democratic participation, and economic livelihoods. While projects vary in scope, objectives, and platforms, one consistency between many successful projects is a good working relationship with the mobile network operator in a given country.

Mobile network operators, or MNOs, go by many names: mobile providers, cell providers, telecommunications companies. In this article, we focus on MNOs in the traditional sense: companies that provides mobile network services.

How to Work With Operators (Part One) data sheet 6809 Views
Countries: Afghanistan Bangladesh Haiti India Mexico Tanzania Zambia

World AIDS Day: Battling the Disease with Mobile Tech

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Dec 01, 2010

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day, a day that is all about raising awareness, countering prejudice, and helping stop the spread of HIV/AIDS. has put together some of the mobile projects and organizations we've covered recently that are innovating with mobile tech in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

RedChatZone: HIV Counseling via Mobile Instant Messaging Chat

This project is an innovative mobile-based platform for youth and young adults to learn more about HIV and to get support by offering them the ability to communicate anonymously and privately via MXit with a trained counselor. 

The Mobile Minute: Mobile Insurance, Smartphone Sales Up 98% Worldwide, and mGive Now Allows Mobile Donations Up to $25

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Nov 11, 2010

The Mobile Minute is here to bring you coverage on the rise of smartphone sales around the world, a crop insurance plan in Kenya that uses mobiles to process claims and distribute money, the effect of the 2010 U.S. elections on PBS' mobile web and app usage rates, a pilot in Zambia that uses SMS to rapidly transmit HIV test results between rural clinics and hospitals, and mGive's new mobile donation options.

Mobile Money and Mobile Health 2: Use Cases, Limitations and Ways Forward

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Nov 10, 2010

In this two-part series, explores how mobile money services can support health care in developing countries. In part one, we described the key ways in which mobile money services can be adopted by the health sector.

At the primary level of care, subscription-based mobile payment services can create two-way links between patients and health care providers, as summarized here.

  • Patients can pay service providers directly for health care services delivered.
  • Service providers can use mobile transfer platforms to reward patients with monetary or airtime incentives for treatment compliance.

At the district, regional, and national levels, governments and organizations can improve management of funds and introduce better checks and balances by using mobile money platforms. Some uses include:

Mobile Money For Health: A Two-Part Series

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Nov 08, 2010

Mobile phones are being tried and tested in myriad ways in health care. They are used for data collection and disease surveillance, for ensuring treatment compliance, for managing health information systems and point-of-care support, for health promotion and disease prevention, and for delivering emergency medical services. Clearly, m-health, as this growing field is dubbed, is here to stay.

At the same time, achieving scale and sustainability in most m-health projects has been a challenge. One of the key aspects of beginning to think about ways to integrate m-health into health systems in a sustainable way is to establish financial systems to pay for health services and to ensure financial accountability within programs.

Vodafone Americas Foundation™ announces call for entries for annual Wireless Innovation Project™ and mHealth Alliance Award

Posted by DLPRSF on Oct 22, 2010

The Vodafone Americas Foundation and the mHealth Alliance are announcing a call for entries for the annual Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project mHealth Alliance Award, a competition to identify and support promising wireless-related technologies to address critical social issues around the globe. Proposals will be accepted from September 27, 2010 through December 15, 2010, with the final winners announced in April 2011.

Vodafone Americas Foundation™ announces call for entries for annual Wireless Innovation Project™ and mHealth Alliance Award data sheet 4400 Views
Global Regions:
Countries: United States

Futures Group

Posted by bobjay on Oct 19, 2010

Futures Group is a trusted international development firm known for our evidence-based, integrated approach to improving the health and well-being of people worldwide.We are a services and consulting company that develops and delivers innovative, locally relevant, evidence-based solutions for development. We assist governmental and non-governmental agencies, foundations, and the private sector by designing, implementing and evaluating programs in HIV and AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, population and family planning, maternal and child health, infectious diseases, and gender.Futures Group has deep expertise in policy and advocacy, research and strategic information, health markets and private sector engagement, modeling and economic analysis, health informatics, strategic consulting, and program management.We are committed to being responsible stewards of development resources, efficiency, and providing optimal value for money.A company with global reach and local focus, Futures has 450 employees in over 30 countries.

Organization Type: 
One Thomas Circle
Postal code: 

The Mobile Minute: Per-Second Billing in Zimbabwe, Twitter's Mobile Stats, the Seven Kinds of Mobile Donations for Non-Profits

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 21, 2010

The Mobile Minute is back with the latest mobile news. McKesson Foundation's president is interviewed about its $1.5 million grant for m-health research, Zimbabwe begins to roll out per-second mobile billing, NTEN shows non-profits in the United States seven ways to incorporate mobile donations, Apple publishes its guidelines for submissions to the app store, and Twitter releases new figures about their mobile access numbers.

The Mobile Minute: How U.S. Adults Use Mobiles, Social Networking Via SMS in Nigeria, and a Dual GSM/CDMA Mobile

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 10, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on using SMS to access social networks in Nigeria, Organizing for America's new iPhone app that aids political canvassers, HTC's development of a dual GSM and CDMA phone, a pilot project that uses SMS to send information to pregnant women in Peru, and a Pew Research Center report on U.S. adults' mobile phone usage habits.

Participant and Interviewer Attitudes toward Handheld Computers in the Context of HIV/AIDS Programs in Sub- Saharan Africa

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Aug 23, 2010
Participant and Interviewer Attitudes toward Handheld Computers in the Context of HIV/AIDS Programs in Sub- Saharan Africa data sheet 2115 Views
Karen G. Cheng, Francisco Ernesto and Khai N. Truong
Publication Date: 
Apr 2008
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Handheld computers have untapped potential to improve HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the collection of survey data. We conducted an experiment in three neighborhoods of Luanda, Angola to assess the impact of the technology on people’s comfort and willingness to disclose sensitive personal information, such as sexual behavior.

Participants were asked about their HIV/AIDSrelated knowledge, attitudes, and practices by local interviewers using either handheld computers or paper surveys. T-tests showed no differences between participants’ self-reported comfort across handheld and paper conditions. However, participants in the handheld condition were more likely to give socially desirable responses to the sexual behavior questions than participants in the paper condition. These results suggest that using handheld computers in data collection in sub-Saharan Africa may lead to biased reports of HIV/AIDS-related risk behaviors.

Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries: Policy White Paper

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Aug 20, 2010
Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries: Policy White Paper data sheet 2763 Views
Mechael, P., Batavia, H., Kaonga, N., Searle, S., Kwan, A., Goldberger, A., Fu, L., Ossman, J.
Publication Date: 
May 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This White Paper, written by a team of researchers at the Center for Global Health and Economic Development at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, examines and synthesizes the existing mHealth literature to assess the current state of mHealth knowledge, evaluate the impact of mHealth implementations in LMICs and to examine programming, policy and research-related barriers to and gaps in mHealth scale and sustainability.

The paper is divided into two main sections. The first section reviews and summarizes the peer-reviewed literature on mHealth initiatives (focus on LMICS) to highlight trends and challenges. The second section examines the existing mHealth policy environment, barriers and gaps, and key drivers needed for an enabling policy environment.

The major thematic areas include:

  • Treatment Compliance
  • Data Collection and Disease Surveillance
  • Health Information Systems and Point of Care Support
  • Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
  • Emergency Medical Response

The review identified significant gaps in mHealth knowledge stemming from the limited scale and scope of mHealth implementation and evaluation, a policy environment that does not link health objectives and related metrics to available mHealth tools and systems, and little investment in cost-benefit studies to assess mHealth value and health outcomes research to assess success factors and weed out poor investments.




Patient Education on Mobile Devices: An e-Health Intervention for Low Health Literate Audiences

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Aug 18, 2010
Patient Education on Mobile Devices: An e-Health Intervention for Low Health Literate Audiences data sheet 787 Views
Michael Mackert, Brad Love and Pamela Whitten
Publication Date: 
Oct 2010
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Providing health information to low health literate audiences remains a challenge. Beyond message design, realistic delivery models are needed for delivering information to a traditionally hard-to-reach audience. This study investigated two e-health interventions to provide health information on mobile devices – one providing diabetes information and one offering childcare information. Both were well-received, and most of the subjects’ usability issues related to the translation of these interventions to the mobile device’s smaller screen. The diabetes website was effective in providing information to study participants (as measured by pre- and post-tests of knowledge), while the childcare website was not. Continued work in this area could explore improved design strategies for mobile devices – a delivery model that could be used in doctors’ offices, for example. Effective delivery of health information to low health literate audiences is an important issue, and this research highlights a critical element by targeting another potential delivery model.


The Mobile Minute: Your Daily M4Change News

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 29, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute covers how mobiles are improving students' performance in a North Carolina school, personal data theft from a malicious Android app, a $100 million USAID grant for health services in Malawi, the effect of mobile applications on the East African economy, and the release of Opera's "State of the Mobile Web."

How to RapidSMS

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jul 23, 2010
How to RapidSMS data sheet 8634 Views

A how-to guide on using and implementing RapidSMS for mobile data collection and communication.

Ths manual give an overview for how to implement and use RapidSMS in a mobile data collection project. RapidSMS is a SMS framework for data collection, group coordination, and complex SMS workflows.  The tutorial outlines when and when not to use RapidSMS, guides the user through project steps and milestones, outlines factors for a successful implementation, and provides worksheets for project planning. Example training materials are included.

More documentation and developers guides can be found here on the RapidSMS site.

Mobile Tools: 

Mobile Minute - Daily m4Change News

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 22, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute covers the mobile gender gap, mobiles in the classroom that allow deaf children to learn alongside hearing children, a study about mobile over-sharing, mobile credits on cell phones during disasters, post-Haiti disaster management with ICTs, and a 90-second interview with Patricia Mechael about mobile health. 

  • According to a Webroot Study of 1,645 social network users, 55% of people polled said "they worry over loss of privacy incurred from using geolocation data" on mobile phones."

[Mobile Minute Disclaimer: The Mobile Minute is a quick round-up of interesting stories that have come across our RSS and Twitter feeds to keep you informed of the rapid pace of innovation. Read them and enjoy them, but know that we have not deeply investigated these news items. For more in-depth information about the ever-growing field of mobile tech for social change, check out our blog-posts, white papers and research, how-tos, and case studies.]

Image courtesy Flickr user QiFei


Pesinet: Mobile Tech and Micro-Insurance for Child Health in Mali

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 10, 2010
Pesinet: Mobile Tech and Micro-Insurance for Child Health in Mali data sheet 5703 Views

Healthcare agents in Bamako Coura, Mali, are providing better care to children with the help of mobile phones. Healthcare agents with Pesinet, a non-profit organization based in Mali, perform weekly checkups on children and then send the results to a doctor for evaluation through a Java application.

Anne Roos-Weil, founder of Pesinet, says: 

In Sub-Sahara Africa you have a very, very high child mortality rate. […] In Mali, where our project is based, one child out of five dies before the age of five. What we realized is that they’re mostly dying because they don’t go to the doctor or the healthcare center early enough.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The goals of Pesinet are:

  • To prevent child mortality from benign diseases through regular home screenings
  • To create an insurance plan so that health problems do not bankrupt families


Brief description of the project: 

Pesinet is a mobile healthcare service currently deployed in Bamako Coura, Mali. Parents sign up for a healthcare worker to visit their children weekly for a regular checkup. The agents collect data via mobile phone, and send it to a doctor at a healthcare center, who reviews the information for changes. The parents pay the equivalent of one Euro a month, which covers visits to the doctor in case of emergency, and provides half-price medication in case the child needs medical care. 

Target audience: 

The target audience is parents of children under five in Bamako, Mali (for the current pilot; later it will expand to all parents of children under five who live in areas with high under-5 mortality rates in Mali). 


Detailed Information
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

In a survey conducted by the Malian Ministry of Health, 96% of the mothers enrolled in the program reported satisfaction with Pesinet, 99% wished to recommend the service to family and friends, and 97% of the families found the service to be "very affordable."

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

The program's challenges are:

  • Breaking through the trust barrier - Pesinet found it difficult to promote the service rapidly in areas where there is little awareness of the value of prevention, as this involves a significant cultural shift. 
  • The organization's desire to be financially self-sustaining has meant slow growth (compared to subsidized programs); the paying approach inevitably led to slower adoption than if the service were free of charge. 


The Case for mHealth in Developing Countries

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 09, 2010
The Case for mHealth in Developing Countries data sheet 2943 Views
Patricia N. Mechael
Publication Date: 
Jan 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The aim of this paper is to encourage reflection and discussion around the
potential of mHealth in developing countries and to consider how early experiences
can inform the way forward. Toward this aim, I synthesize many reviews and
presentations from the eight years I have been studying the evolution of mobile
phones and health in developing countries. I include observations and discussions
that are now shaping the creation of mHealth as a field, to highlight the ingredients
we need to move from a series of pilot projects and isolated business opportunities
to a full-scale maximization of health-related benefits.

I begin by reviewing the strategic priorities within global health, where mobile
telephony can have the greatest impact, along with organic health-related uses of
mobile phones, and examples of formal mHealth interventions. I then demonstrate
the potential for mobile phones to become an extension and an integral
component of eHealth, describing how information and communication technology
(ICT) can be used in health care, as well as mHealth, as a subset of mServices:
using mobile devices to deliver services such as banking and health. I also show
how trends and interests are converging among key stakeholders within the
mHealth ecosystem, thus forming a foundation on which we can scale up and sustain
more and better mHealth activities. Finally, I present some tactical guidance
for a way forward that will further the objectives of both public health and business,
particularly in outreach efforts to emerging markets, the bottom of the pyramid,
and the next billion mobile phone subscribers.


Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 08, 2010

Pesinet is a not-for-profit international organization delivering a simple prevention and early-care system for countries lacking medical resources ,with the objective of driving a systemic change in the healthcare situation of low-income countries and reducing child mortality. Pesinet was designed to offset the weaknesses of existing public healthcare systems and provide affordable healthcare services to help prevent, detect and treat diseases in time thanks to the periodic and cost-efficient monitoring of key health data.

Organization Type: 

Tagged With:

Every ChildCounts: The Use of SMS in Kenya to Support the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition & Malaria in Children

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 06, 2010
Every ChildCounts: The Use of SMS in Kenya to Support the Community-Based Management of Acute Malnutrition & Malaria in Children data sheet 3292 Views
Berg, Matt, Wariero, James, and Modi, Vijay
Publication Date: 
Oct 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Baseline under five child mortality in Sauri, Kenya as of 2005 was estimated to be 148 deaths per 1000 live births. By 2008, the rate had dropped to 81 deaths per 1000 live births due to Millennium Village Project (MVP) interventions. A review of child deaths revealed that among other causes, such as malaria, acute febrile illnesses, diarrheal illnesses and HIV, malnutrition contributed to more than 50% of all child deaths. Community health workers (CHWs) led several interventions, namely community-based management of acute malnutrition, home-based testing for malaria and diarrheal illnesses and immediate dispersal of appropriate treatments.

To support these interventions, MVP ran a pilot project where CHWs were equipped with mobile phones to use SMS text messages to register patients and send in their data with the goal of improving child health and empowering community health workers. This report seeks to detail the methods used, illustrate early results and initial findings of the ChildCount mHealth platform that CHWs have now been using since early July of 2009.