This paper was produced by the African Strategies for Health (ASH) project in collaboration with the US Agency for International Development’s Africa Bureau (USAID/AFR). Funded by USAID/AFR, the overall objective of ASH is to contribute to improving the health status of populations across Africa through identification of and advocacy for best practices, enhancing technical capacity, and engaging African regional institutions to address health issues in a sustainable manner. ASH provides information on trends and developments across the continent to USAID and other development partners to enhance decision making regarding investments in health.
Adoption of new technologies is researched in Information Systems (IS) literature for the past two decades, starting with the adoption of desktop computer technology to the adoption of electronic commerce technology. Issues that have been researched comprise of how users 'handle' various options available in software environment, their perceived opinion, barriers and challenges to adopting a new technology, IS development procedures that are directly impacting any adoption including interface designs and elements of human issues. However, literature indicates that the models proposed in the IS literature such as Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) are not suitable to specific settings to predict adoption of technology. Studies in the past few years have strongly concluded that TAM is not suitable in healthcare setting because it doesn't consider a myriad of factors influencing adoption technology adoption in healthcare. This paper discusses the problems in healthcare due to poor information systems development, factors that need to be considered while developing healthcare applications as these are complex and different from traditional MIS applications and derive a model that can be tested for adoption of new technology in healthcare settings. The contribution of this paper is in terms of building theory that is not available in the combined areas of Information Systems and healthcare.
Developing countries face steady growth in the prevalence of chronic diseases, along with a continued burden from communicable diseases. “Mobile” health, or m-health—the use of mobile technologies such as cellular phones to support public health and clinical care—offers promise in responding to both types of disease burdens. Mobile technologies are widely available and can play an important role in health care at the regional, community, and individual levels. We examine various m-health applications and define the risks and benefits of each. We find positive examples but little solid evaluation of clinical or economic performance, which highlights the need for such evaluation.
This editorial introduces the three papers in this Policy Arena on the contribution of information and communication technologies (ICTs) to development. Contribution in terms of technology diffusion and use – especially of mobile phones – is easy to detect. But focus has only recently shifted along the ‘ICT-for-development value chain’ from these indicators of ICT readiness and availability, to the question of development impact.
Progress in reducing maternal mortality in developing countries has been rather slow to meet the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target number 5, aiming to improve Maternal Health by reducing maternal mortality by 75% between 1990 and 2015 and achieving universal access to reproductive health by 2015 . Developing countries account for 99% of maternal death worldwide, representing one of the widest health gaps between developed and developing countries. These deaths could be avoided if the proper health resources and services were made available to women.
The mobile industry in Africa is booming. With over 620 million mobile connections as of September 2011, Africa has overtaken Latin America to become the second largest mobile market in the world, after Asia. Over the past 10 years, the number of mobile connections in Africa has grown an average of 30% per year and is forecast to reach 735 million by the end of 2012.
The Better Immunization Data Learning Network (BLN) recently held a webinar entitled “Sharing and Reusing Health Training Content: An Introduction to ORB”. mPowering’s ORB platform recently launched to help promote the sharing and re-use of openly licensed health worker training content.
The mHealth Compendiums contain case studies submitted by programs implemented primarily in Africa. They document a range of mHealth applications and include a program description, available results, lessons learned and project contacts. The compendiums serve as a comprehensive resource for implementers and donors to access information on innovative programs as well as references to other mHealth resources and tools.