GSMA launches mHealth partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa

GSMA mHealth partnership in Sub-Saharan Africa

GSMA’s Mobile for Development mHealth programme has launched a new cross-ecosystem partnership to provide a range of mHealth services to women and children, with a particular focus on nutrition, across Sub-Saharan Africa. Initial launch partners for the initiative include Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi, Mobilium, MTN, Omega Diagnostics and Samsung.

According to GSMA Intelligence, there is a total annual, addressable market of 15.5 million pregnant women and mothers with children under five years of age.

Initially, the partners will jointly launch services in seven countries: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia; with expansion to Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania coming at a later date.“This new mobile ecosystem partnership, developed by the GSMA, is committed to connecting the mobile and health industries to develop commercially sustainable mHealth services that meet public health needs,” said Tom Phillips, Chief Regulatory Officer, GSMA. “The companies in this partnership are working to deliver the objectives of the United Nations Every Women Every Child Global Strategy, as well as the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, in the areas of nutrition and maternal and child health.”

Initially, the partners will jointly launch services in seven countries — including Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia — from September 2014, while the next phase (commencing in 2015) will see expansion to four more countries: Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania.

Samsung on its end will offer its phones and tablets at discounted rates, while also providing access to its ecosystem consisting of a number of services to drive health usage. Those getting these mobile devices will also get the preloaded Smart Health app that provides a range of professional applications, information and services on 80 million Samsung handsets.

On the other hand, mobile operator MTN will allow free access to health content, health registration and data collection via the Smart Health application; as well as simplified access to MTN mobile money, advertising and billing capabilities. Finally, the Omega Diagnostics Visitect HIV CD4 solution will be more affordable at point of care and accessible via mobile integration.

The hope is that health content, patient registration, data collection and critical diagnostics will increase the access to health care for vulnerable women and children across Africa, while providing the delivery mechanism for mHealth services that are commercially sustainable and scalable.