ITU, WHO launch new m-Health initiative
VALUE ADDED SERVICES| Oct. 18, 2012, 6 a.m.
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.
MORE VALUE ADDED SERVICES NEWS
EFInA lifts Nigeria mobile banking with $1.5mEnhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) boosted the mobile money sector by splashing $1.5 million or about N421.5 million from its Innovation Grant on Diamond Bank’s Diamond Y’ello Account (DYA), a mobile banking platform which was built on MTN Xaas platform. Read More
KCB M-PESA loan disbursements cross KSh10B markRevolutionary mobile-based bank account KCB M-PESA has advanced KSh10.3 billion in loans to its customers since inception about two years ago, boosting access to credit in Kenya. Read More
Airtel Money, WAEC enable candidates to check their results onlineAirtel Money is enabling the purchase of the West African Examination Council (WAEC) results checker pins on its platform. Read More
Airtel Money Card is now back, with online paymentsAirtel Kenya has announced the return of its Airtel Money Card, enabling card holders the convenience of shopping, online payments and easy access to funds 24 hours a day. Read More
Daystar University pioneers smartphone-based degree programmesDaystar University has announced a strategic partnership with OneUni to launch Africa’s first smartphone-based degree programmes, the first of which is a Bachelor’s of Education for existing and aspiring teachers. Read More
MTN Ghana stimulates discussion on cashless societyAs part of its 2016 Mobile Money Month celebration in the country, MTN Ghana has revisited the discussion on a cashless society and the need for stakeholders to take a critical look at its benefits again. Read More
WorldRemit calls for urgent restoration of money transfers to NigeriaHundreds of global remittance companies have been forced to cease transfers to Nigeria, says WorldRemit. Read More
Mobile Money – the paradox of costly convenienceThe convenience of mobile money is being offset by the increased risk of fraud, report Kampala residents. Read More
Uber Kenya faces looming drivers’ strikeKenyan drivers for digital taxi service Uber have threatened to embark on a strike from today over fare price cuts. Read More
Uber offers cashless payments in Accra through SMSGHUber, the innovative app that connects riders with drivers, has revealed to Biztechafrica that it has partnered with SMSGH to provide mobile payments to the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area (GAMA). Read More
FEATURED STORYFinancial services sees AI as both opportunity and threat
Banking is already a key area where technology is having an impact throughout Africa, and a new survey assesses the impact artificial intelligence will have on this sector.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHAccess and Use of ICT stats released
Statistics Botswana has released the first results of the 2014 Information and Communication Technology Household Survey.
COMPANY NEWSTigo explores options to give customers a greater choice for 4G services in Ghana
Following her recent visit to Ghana, Cynthia Gordon, the CEO of Millicom Africa, has emphasized the remarkable growth opportunities in data and Tigo’s commitment to giving customers ...