This work builds on the recently published End Consumer Primary Research and aims to inform health and mobile stakeholders about the users of mHealth services in the public sector. The GSMA expects this market knowledge to lead to product design that is more aligned to the needs of users (consumers and health workers), greater adoption and achievement of economies of scale and sustainability, and robust partnershipsbetween public and private sector stakeholders that ultimately reduce the widespread fragmentation of mHealth services in South Africa.
Maternal, perinatal and under-5 mortality in South Africa remain high. It is estimated that 40% of all deaths are avoidable. With the ubiquity of mobile services in developing markets, value-added services such as mobile money and mobile health (mHealth) are increasingly offered as a more convenient and cheaper solution for people to access not only information but also actual financial and healthcare services.
Mobile phone technology has demonstrated the potential to improve health service delivery, but there is little guidance to inform decisions about acquiring and implementing mHealth technology at scale in health systems. Using the case of community-based health services (CBS) in South Africa, we apply a framework to appraise the opportunities and challenges to effective implementation of mHealth at scale in health systems.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions (e.g. e-health, telemedicine, e-education) are often viewed as vehicles to bridge the digital divide between rural and urban healthcare centres and to resolve shortcomings in the rural health sector. This study focused on factors perceived to infl uence the uptake and use of ICTs as e-health solutions in selected rural Eastern Cape healthcare centres, and on structural variables relating to these facilities and processes. Attention was also given to two psychological variables that may underlie an individual’s acceptance and use of ICTs: usefulness and ease of use. Recommendations are made with regard to how ICTs can be used more effectively to improve health systems at fi ve rural healthcare centres where questionnaire and interview data were collected: St. Lucy’s Hospital, Nessie Knight Hospital, the Tsilitwa Clinic, the Madzikane Ka-Zulu Memorial Hospital and the Nelson Mandela General Hospital.