New mHealth Alliance Initiative to Strengthen Mobile Health Capacity of Governments

mHealth Alliance | September 12, 2013

mHealth Expert Learning Program (mHELP) designed to address pressing need for capacity building to help improve health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries

Dublin and Washington, D.C. (September 12, 2013) – The mHealth Alliance today launched a new initiative aimed at building the expertise and capacity of global health stakeholders using mobile technology for health by connecting them directly to free consultations and tools, as well as a network of highly qualified experts in the field. The mHealth Expert Learning Program (mHELP), supported by Johnson + Johnson, seeks to address a persistent gap in the capacity of health programs and service implementers to design and deploy mobile health (mHealth) in low-resource settings. The launch of mHELP at the mHealthED conference in Dublin coincides with the first official call for applications from mHealth and electronic health (eHealth) professionals who wish to join the mHELP expert network.

“mHealth and eHealth are increasingly transforming the way public health and health services are being accessed by and delivered to those living in low- and middle-income countries, but institutions are often hindered by the lack of adequate expertise or experience,” said Patricia Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance. “In the course of the past year, we have moved from a question of ‘if’ mHealth to a question of ‘how’ do we approach it? mHELP’s unique model will open a direct channel to technical assistance and support for individuals, governments, the private sector, and non-governmental organizations, effectively filling gaps in capacity and giving global health stakeholders the tools and expertise needed to bring projects to scale.”

mHELP will focus on building global mHealth capacity by providing a variety of free services and tools to the mHealth community, such as an online question answering service and “how to” guides. It will also engage in formal assessment and technical assistance projects, matching high-level experts, along with capacity building and technology partners, to the needs of specific mHealth implementations. In the first such engagement, mHELP is working with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF) to establish a decision support and registration system in Tanzania for the elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV.

“mHealth is a game-changing tool that has impacted the lives of many expectant mothers who may not otherwise have access to good health information and services simply because of where they live,” said Alice Lin Fabiano, director of Johnson + Johnson Corporate Contributions. “Our continuing partnership with the mHealth Alliance, combined with our long-standing partner EGPAF, to address mother-to-child-transmission of HIV/AIDS is a natural evolution to save even more lives.”

mHELP is also assisting the South African Department of Health in building a coherent national mHealth framework for maternal and child health. mHELP will have a particular focus on improving reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, and the diagnosis and treatment of HIV/AIDS, in support of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals 4, 5 and 6.

The strength of mHELP’s model will rely largely on its network of quality-assured mHealth and eHealth experts. The first round of mHELP experts already includes a number of prominent mHealth professionals covering a wide range of expertise areas. Participants in the mHELP network will be considered part of the Alliance’s group of recommended experts and will have increased access to opportunities for sharing their expertise and providing technical guidance. Individuals or organizations seeking to join the network can now apply via www.mhealthalliance.org/mhelp.

mHELP will serve as a valuable resource for those seeking expert guidance – both on an informal and formal level – and will provide a powerful tool for making the right connections within the mHealth community at the right moment to help scale mHealth in developing countries.
- See more at: http://www.mhealthalliance.org/media-a-resources/press-releases/146--new-mhealth-alliance-initiative-to-strengthen-mobile-health-capacity-of-governments-private-sector-ngos#sthash.fQRwKU06.dpuf