Some interesting facts, information or talks about mhealth, mhealth tools, presentation of case studies and user’s stories.

Mhealth as a training tool for Safe Delivery

Maternal and newborn mortality rate is very high in many low-income countries. Deaths are often caused by complications that are not properly or timely treated such as the mother begins to bleed after giving birth or the newborn is not breathing. However, it has been proved that an estimated 90% of the existing maternal and newborn deaths could be prevented with access to basic skilled care during pregnancy and childbirth. Many health workers in the periphery of the health system do not have the sufficient level of training and are difficult to reach with traditional classroom training, as they are placed in remote health stations.

The Safe Delivery App is an mHealth training tool for birth attendants in low-income countries to reduce the high maternal and newborn mortality rate caused by lack of skilled care at deliveries.

Wherever medical staff cannot undergo a full training on delivery care, the Safe Delivery App can assist health workers with animated videos, action cards, drugs information on recommended dosages and side effects and practical procedures for simple operations to handle childbirth complications such as prolonged labour, hypertension and maternal sepsis. The tool addresses all seven signal functions of Basic Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care based on global clinical guidelines from WHO.

The app has been developed by Maternity Foundation, University of Southern Denmark and University of Copenhagen and it has been tested in a randomized controlled trial in Ethiopia, across 78 health facilities. The results have showed that the ability of health workers to handle postnatal bleeding and to resuscitate a newborn more than doubled after 12 months of using the app.

The Safe Delivery App will be rolled out across sub-Saharan Africa in partnership with Ministries of Health and NGOs.

Beside The Safe delivery app there are other tools that can assist in delivery care, for example Totohealth allows expectant parents to receive health messages via SMS based on the stage of their pregnancy, including reminders on health clinic visits. And in Nigeria, telecommunications company Airtel teamed up with Grameen Foundation to launch the Mobile Midwife app, providing healthcare and nutritional information for pregnant women.

The Safe Delivery App is free for download at Google Play and at App Store.


– Maternity,
– The Guardian.

How mhealth can help Refugees in Europe?

As the current refugees crisis is spreading through Europe and all over the World, we have decided to open a dedicated session in our blog. When this tragedy reached our borders and, above all arrived on our media, many initiatives were born to involve the tech community on these issues. The first one was Mike Butcher’s Techfugees a conference and a hackathon where the London tech community showed their support to refugees. In a few days a Facebook group and Twitter accounts exploded, showing the huge interest of the tech community to be involved in this issue. Many other conferences, events, hackathons have been organized all over Europe, including one event in Italy, hosted by H-Farm.

Particularly, Gnucoop created a blog, called Blogfugees, that wants to be a focal point for all the organizations working for refugees and needing or looking for help from technology experts; a the place where we collect everything that can be found online on “Technology for Refugees”.

But you are now probably wondering… so what’s the connection with mhealth?

As we already know, one of the most important mhealth application is the use of mobile tools to help in the diagnosis of diseases, expecially in remote or difficult contexts.

Well, as winter starts to bite, health conditions in the migrant camps across Europe are of concern to health authorities and health providers. While there is concerted effort to improve the general conditions in these camps, progress is slow because of the scale of the task and the difficulty of providing significant numbers of doctors there.

Regarding provision of healthcare, there is one free medical app, called MedShr, that  is attempting to address these challenges by enabling doctors to upload, share and discuss medical images on a closed professional network. In camps where health conditions are very poor, MedShr is proving to be a valuable tool for doctors in the camps.

MedShr was founded in 2013 with a UK DTI Research and Development grant by Dr Asif Qasim, a London cardiologist, with the objective of creating a platform for doctors to connect with each other and discuss clinical cases in a secure place.


Many medical apps helping during the refugees crisis, such as MedShr, have become more and more important. By connecting specialists with support, diagnoses and treatment, MedShr has been used by organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières and The Red Cross to work out how to support doctors in the field and contact informal groups of volunteer doctors.

A recent University of Birmingham report, underlines that conditions in the camp do not meet standards recommended by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) and that ‘the shortcoming in shelter, food and water safety, personal hygiene, sanitation and security would have detrimental long-term health consequences for the camp’s residents over their lifetime’. Apps such as MedShr are among a number of apps that people and organisations are developing to help with the crisis.

Beside its specific application in the refugee camps, MedShr allows generally to:

    From ECGs, scans and X-rays to patient photos and videos, MedShr helps finding and discussing  relevant medical cases with colleagues, by specialty and at all grades. MedShr shares secure data, using private network and features a unique system for obtaining patient consent. Doctors have the possibility to follow clinical cases and learn from their peers with informal and accredited case based discussion.
    MedShr is the simple way to capture, share and discuss clinical images and videos in everyday practice. It is possibile to create a case, obtain consent and start a discussion securely from a mobile device mobile. Send medical cases to colleagues, share them with the wider community,etc…MedShr is safe, secure and enables members to maintain complete control over the privacy of their cases – with all members being 100% verified as doctors, healthcare professionals and medical students.
    Medical students and doctors of all levels are joining MedShr to advance their learning as they connect with peers from their university, place of work and across the world. Connect and follow specialists to keep up to date on their latest cases, techniques and learnings. Medical students, junior doctors and specialist trainees use MedShr groups as a resource for informal learning, ahead of case-based examinations and as an aid to formal learning.

“MedShr is a brilliant idea – smartphones connect doctors, making it possible for aid workers to get an instant medical diagnosis”  – Rohan Silver, Evening Standard. 


RapidSMS: an example of mhealth application

Mhealth tools can be deployed with many functionalities, such as: data collection, point of care, logistics, remote monitoring, treatment adherence, education awareness, training, and disease tracking. Read more

Welcome to the mHealth Blog

Hello everybody! My name is Paola Fava, I am a business developer and co­founder of Gnucoop, an IT cooperative that provides software solutions to support not for profit organisations (i.e.: NGOs, UN Agencies, etc…) in managing their information systems, from data collection to data visualization and analysis. I would like to thank ONG2.0 for giving Gnucoop the possibility to use this space to share with you some interesting facts, information or talks about mHealth, mHealth tools, presentation of case studies and user’s

So, let’s start blogging!

We start with some basic information… what is mHealth? First of all, we need to understand what an health system is. An Health system is a combination of structures, processes and resources required to deliver healthcare to the population. Therefore, this system needs financing mechanisms, well trained and paid workforce, reliable information and well ­maintained facilities to guarantee a good service to patients.

Where does the mHealth come in then?

Well, in some contexts those requirements are not totally fulfilled. Particularly when reliable information is missing, it is very difficult to monitor the spread of diseases, understand if patients’ conditions are properly diagnosed or if proper treatments are given, just to mention a few… here is where mHealth can play a very important role.

According to WHO, Mobile Health (m­Health) is the “Provision of health services and information via mobile and wireless technologies. mHealth includes mobile phones, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), tablets, mobile applications and wireless medical devices“.

mHealth has the potential to address and overcome challenges such as:

  • Disparities in access to health services, helping remote communities to also connect and avail of health services;
  • Inadequacies of the health infrastructure, supporting in monitoring the quality of health posts and health centers;
  • Shortage of human resources for health, by empowering health promoters and spreading educational messages.

Let’s start with a first example of mhealth tool: the MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action) project.

MAMA is an SMS system developed through a public private partnership between USAID, Johnson & Johnson, the United Nations Foundation and BabyCenter. It supports programs delivering maternal health information to pregnant women by SMS. The messages are built around key health behaviors and interventions which evidence shows can improve health outcomes. The messages blend healthcare with child development information, so mothers are motivated to get the right care at the right time for themselves and their children. These include antenatal care, nutrition, vaccination, oral rehydration, and use of insecticide­ treated bed nets.

Since 2011, the system has reached 2 millions people among women families and caregivers living in remote communities in Bangladesh, South Africa, India and Nigeria. MAMA messages empower women to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.

Talk soon about another mhealth tool or case study.


Originally written by Paola Fava
Photo Credits: Educational text messages to new mothers save lives