Be He@lthy, Be Mobile

The use of mobile and wireless technologies has the potential to transform the face of health service delivery across the globe. There are reportedly more than 7 billion mobile telephone subscriptions across the world, over 70% of which are in low- or middle- income countries. In many places, people are more likely to have access to a mobile telephone than to clean water. As a global society, we are also facing a looming threat of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), which kill 41 million people each year, around 71% of all deaths. To address this challenge, the Be He@lthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative was set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Telecommunication union (ITU) in 2012. BHBM works with governments to scale up mHealth services for NCDs and their risk factors. Millions of people have already been reached through the programmes and evaluation shows that they are impacting positively on users’ health. The approach is deliberately designed to be scalable: instead of promoting specific products, it provides cross-cutting health content and technical support which can be used and incorporated into other applications. It also works to develop the broader ecosystem within which a national mHealth programme will sit, helping ensure that it is integrated with other health services. In doing so, each programme becomes a sustainable part of the health system whilst also helping to promote health and wellbeing around the world. The initiative’s immediate objective is to continue expanding the number of countries it works with and the variety of diseases it addresses. Longer-term, its objective is to help the global community achieve Goal 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030: “To ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages”. With requests for support from over 90 other countries around the world, the initiative looks forward to seeing mobile phones deliver improvement on a global scale.

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February 17, 2022

Bike Ambulances to improve Emergency Obstetric Care in Rural Areas

Maternal mortality and morbidity rates remain high in Cote d’Ivoire. It is estimated that more than six women out of a thousand are dying while delivering birth, while 0.7% of the women of childbearing age have fistula in the country (MICS, 2016). While the strengthening of the health system is taking place, women in the country, especially in the rural area, stay vulnerable to the high risk of maternal death and morbidity. From behavioral perspectives, the barriers that leads to the three delays–(1) deciding to seek care; (2) identifying and reaching a medical facility; (3) receiving adequate and appropriate treatment may include the following (Cichowitz et al., 2018): Factors related to the first delay: social norms (community prefers to deliver at home), limited transportation and health care services at night, and negative experience in hospitals in the past (lack of trust). Factors related to the second delay of reaching a medical facility: a lack of available transportation, long travel times, and perception of high medical costs (walking 36.5%, car 34.6%, bus 13.5%, and motorcycle 13.5% in case of a study in Tanzania). In this context, this rapid prototyping initiative seeks to develop a new low-cost, safe transportation for women to prevent maternal mortality and morbidity in rural areas, by tackling the barriers that often lead to delay of emergency obstetric care (EmOC). It also aims to collect and utilize the GPS data/information of the bike ambulances to enable regional hospitals and the government to make better decisions in providing care, utilize hospital ambulances efficiently, and enhance communication between the care-seeker and care-provider.
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