ITU, WHO launch new m-Health initiative


Image: By BiztechAfrica
ITU, WHO launch new m-Health initiative

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have launched a new partnership called the ‘m-Health’ Initiative to use mobile technology, in particular text messaging and apps, to help combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases and chronic respiratory diseases.

Non-communicable diseases are some of the leading causes of death and disease in both developed countries and emerging economies alike. They dominate health care needs and expenditures in most developed as well as most low and middle-income countries. Of the 57 million deaths globally, NCDs contribute to an estimated 36 million deaths every year, including 14 million people dying between the ages of 30 to 70. Using mobile telephone technology, m-Health practices can help save lives, reduce illness and disability, and reduce healthcare costs significantly.

Through the Initiative, ITU and WHO will provide evidence-based and operational guidance to encourage partners worldwide, especially governments, to implement m-Health interventions to address prevention and treatment of NCDs and their common risk factors – tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.

The Initiative is being discussed at the ITU Telecom World 2012, currently in session at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. The conference is a rare opportunity for thought leaders and digital pioneers in the corporate, research and academic sectors from around the world to meet with high-ranking policy makers and regulators, collaborating to share ideas on the future of global telecommunications.

 “Technological innovations are changing the landscape of disease prevention and control. The widespread availability of mobile technology, including in many of the least developed countries, is an exceptional opportunity to expand the use of e-health. By joining forces, ITU and WHO will fight against debilitating non-communicable diseases that can be controlled through the intervention of m-Health solutions and services that are at once cost effective, scalable and sustainable,” said ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun I. Touré. “In doing so, we will help end a scourge that hinders economic growth and development around the world.”

The ITU-WHO m-Health initiative will build on current projects, existing health systems and platforms, and will involve partnerships between governments, NGOs and the private sector.

“WHO is already using mobile devices to carry out surveillance of non-communicable diseases and their risk factors. For example, the Global Adult Tobacco Surveillance system has used mobile phones to capture data on tobacco use in 17 countries – covering over half of the world’s population. This experience of running population-scale mobile projects will be vital to the initiative,” said Dr Oleg Chestnov, WHO Assistant Director-General for Non-communicable Diseases and Mental Health.

WHO and ITU Member States are also testing mobile solutions for NCDs – ranging from providing assistance to help people quit tobacco, helping people increase their activity levels, eating more healthily and helping patients with non-communicable diseases better manage their conditions. All of these experiences will feed into the new initiative.

The ITU-WHO m-Health Initiative, which will initially run for a four-year period and focus on prevention, treatment and enforcement to control non-communicable diseases, will work with partnerships at all levels. At the global level, partners will share knowledge and technical expertise to help develop the standard operating procedure for each m-Health intervention as well as build support for the Initiative. At the national level, governments work closely with the Initiative to accelerate the roll out of operational projects.

The joint ITU-WHO work plan is a direct follow up to the high level meeting on the prevention and control of NCDs convened by the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2011 where world leaders and the UN community agreed to pay greater attention to finding ways to deal with the growing global spread of NCD’s and UN agencies agreed to work together to prevent and control NCDs and their risk factors.

Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

comments powered by Disqus


Tigo upgrades Self-Care app

With its commitment to forefront technology and develop solutions to serve customers better, Tigo Ghana has upgraded its channels to provide customers with easy access to all of their communication needs on-the-go. Read More

Firm develops Tsaboin Traffic Talk to address city gridlock

Management of Nigeria’s biggest traffic monitoring site, Tsaboin Traffic Talk, has restated its commitment towards easing the challenge of traffic gridlock experienced by road users in Lagos State. Read More

Safaricom aims for 30% more Lipa Na M-PESA transactions

Safaricom has announced that it plans to increase usage of Lipa Na M-PESA by 30% throughout the financial year, as it steps up its plans to grow cashless transaction space. Read More

MTN launches e-Health service in Cameroon

A new MTN mobile health platform authorised by Cameroon’s Ministry of Public Health and exploited in partnership with the Cameroon National Medical Council is expected to improve access to health services in Cameroon. Read More

KCB signs deal with GoSwiff to embed its Cashlite agenda

KCB in conjunction with GoSwiff - a global mobile commerce and marketing solutions provider- have unveiled a strategic deal to offer a new mobile payment facility targeting Kenyan merchants. Read More

Orange Money launches mobile crowdfunding

Orange is launching Africa's first mobile crowdfunding platform in Côte d'Ivoire: Orange Collecte. Read More

MTN zero-rates FrontRow data usage

MTN subscribers are in for an entertainment treat following the announcement by MTN that it has zero rated the data usage for streaming content on FrontRow. Read More

Orange postpaid customers to pay bills online

Orange Telkom Kenya post paid subscribers are now able to pay their monthly bills online. Read More

TransUnion launches Nipashe credit checking solution for Kenya

TransUnion has launched an innovative new SMS short code solution that enables consumers in Kenya to easily access their credit information.  Read More

Orange Money Botswana tops 300,000 subscribers

Orange Money Botswana has announced that its customer numbers have reached the 300, 000 mark. Read More


Sage ERP AfricaSAP AfricaSage Pastel AccountingTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4Afrika


Innovative designer takes e-waste to another levelInnovative designer takes e-waste to another level

Gladys Muyenzelwa is a Gaborone based artist and designer who has an eye for ethnic and contemporary design. But unlike other designers, Muyenzelwa has found a way of using e-waste to make her creations. 


High tech homes: Just press playHigh tech homes: Just press play

High tech, digital homes where everything is automated and connected aren’t the stuff of science fiction any longer, says BNC Technology.


Luba Freeport streamlines its sea of paper with Sage X3

Luba Freeport has implemented the Finance and Distribution modules of the Sage X3 business management solution to automate its business processes across finance and operations.