A roadmap for image-based mobile technologies in Africa
"We need new energy to change the world,” said Maud Olofsson, former Swedish Deputy Prime Minister. She was opening the fifth STIAS-Wallenberg Roundtable in Stellenbosch, South Africa. She was talking about the energy of innovation and the people driving it. She emphasised how mHealth experts should help politicians to understand these rapidly changing technologies and work with them how to secure the benefits and opportunities for health systems strengthening.
The roundtables are an initiative of the Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation. They have been run every year since 2013. Delegates are from South Africa, Sweden and the broader international community, invited to engage in dialogue and debate to explore solutions to global challenges.
The February 2017 Roundtable focused on image-based mobile health. Over 60 participants attended from 16 countries. The event provided an opportunity for cross-sectoral and cross-disciplinary discussions and networking, says an article in africahealthnews.
A tangible output of the roundtable is a roadmap to be published in a special issue of Global Health Action devoted to mHealth. eHNA will share it once it's available.
The roadmap emerged from discussions on five key questions about the implementation, expansion and up-scaling of image-based mHealth in resource-constrained settings:
- How should the most important barriers to the implementation of image-based mHealth in the clinical setting be overcome?
- How can frontline healthcare workers adopt image-based mHealth in their practice?
- Which key strategies are needed to overcome organisational challenges to implementing image-based mHealth?
- Which are key strategies to overcome technical challenges in implementing image-based mHealth within the health sector?
- For each stakeholder groups represented, what are the most important priorities to build and sustain mHealth leadership?
Emphasis on finding solutions and crafting a tangible roadmap provides a constructive model for this type of sector engagement. African eHealth experts included African Centre for eHealth Excellence’s (Acfee) Dr Sean Broomhead (South Africa), Prof Peter Nyasulu (South Africa and Malawi), Dr Ousmane Ly (Mali) and Dr Eddie Mukooyo (Uganda). They will take lessons from the roundtable experience into the Acfee stakeholder events planned for Southern Africa and East Africa towards the end of 2017.
Helping end users make better decisions and provide better care was critical a focus. Discussions included how best to deal with barriers such as regulatory aspects, costs, Internet accessibility, airtime, power shortages, lack of training, use of personal phones and safety issues around phones, data accuracy and security - a long list - so that users are able to embrace mobile health.
Delegates included nurses and doctors sharing practical experiences using mHealth in clinical settings, overcoming implementation challenges, and leading change. Their stories fuel optimism for what is possible. We look forward to reading the roadmap and to sharing it with eHNA readers.
Image courtesy of STIAS
Mar 21, 2017