Mobile devices, such as smartphones or tablets, are potentially a means of choice to pass preventive medical information on to groups of users living far away from medical centers in sub-Saharan Africa. Uganda now has plenty of group-specific experiences in the application of e-health concepts, especially for the prevention and treatment of HIV / AIDS.
A team of South African and Canadian scientists has now evaluated 293 reports and documents on the use of e- and m-health solutions in Uganda (1). E-Health describes the use of information and communication technologies in the field of health care. While this includes all digital technologies for processing health data, the term m-Health is more narrowly defined. It describes the use of mobile devices for the dissemination of health-specific information. Especially in rural sub-Saharan areas, the distribution of mobile phones and smartphones is significantly higher than access to internet-capable computers.
The scientists note that in Uganda, m-health programs have been developed to improve the health care of NGOs. However, they are mainly financed by donations and remain in the proof-of-concept status. There is a lack of quality standards for m-health applications as well as a demand-oriented financial planning that would enable a sustainable use of m-health technologies.
(1) VM Kiberu et al. Barriers and opportunities to implementation of sustainable e-Health programmes in Uganda: A literature review. Afr J Prim Health Care Fam Med. 2017; 9(1): 1277. Published online 2017 May 29. online available via: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5458569/