Over 4.5 billion people in the world use mobile phones. By the end of 2018, about 10% lived in Sub-Saharian Africa, with 456 million unique mobile phone subscribers. (The Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2019, GSMA Report). On one side, mobile technology is moving very fast and spreading everywhere; on the other side, a great part of the Sub-Saharian population has still limited access to basic services, such as those related to healthcare. Indicators such as infant mortality rate, show that in Sub-Saharian Africa between 40 and 70 children every 1000 births die before reaching the first year of age. Although we have seen significant improvements in the last decades, we still have a lot of challenges to face and solve.
This striking contrast makes us wonder if it still makes sense to continue investing and talking about technology in areas where some basic services are still non-existent or very limited. However, could technological solutions be a tool to also satisfy basic needs? If so, in which way?
During this course, we will try to answer those questions, exploring several examples of mhealth applications providing support to patients, physicians and community health workers with the objective of granting access to care, diagnosis, treatment and information also in contexts where this would not be possible. We will show several case studies and examples of applications, particularly used in developing countries. We will also present and demo some of the most commonly used tools for data collection and management in the healthcare sector and in low resource settings.
N.B. In this time of COVID-19 Emergency, we have added a SPECIAL LESSON on exploring mhealth solutions that are currently used during this big and current emergency.