Our newborn care series was 1 of only 7 mobile health (mHealth) projects selected from over 1,500 evaluated worldwide that are most relevant to the goal of providing actionable health information by mobile phone. The criteria for the survey, organized by the mHIFA Working Group (Mobile Healthcare Information For All), included that the tools had to empower people with health information that is affordable, relevant, reliable, and easy-to-understand and put into action—in short, information that enables them to “deal effectively with acute healthcare situations.”
The worldwide survey considered mHealth projects in child health, maternal health, and first aid that were relevant in resource-limited settings. Unlike the large majority of the projects reviewed, which focused mainly on text based applications—i.e. collecting data or sending messages (such as appointment reminders)—the newborn care videos provide the kind of easy-to-follow “how-to” information that best met the survey’s focus on information that health workers can immediately put into action to help save lives.
According to Neil Pakenham-Walsh (Coordinator, HIFA2015 and Acting Coordinator, mHIFA):
The researchers have identified only seven relevant projects among an estimated total of 1,500 mHealth projects in various directories and repositories – that’s only 0.4% of all mHealth projects. This indicates a serious lack of mhealth projects that empower people with the information they need to deal effectively with acute healthcare situations. By contrast, there is a plethora of projects that push health education messages to citizens (these projects are undoubtedly important, but arguably do little to empower citizens with as-needed information to guide first aid and decision-making in childhood illness).