Mobile Health Application in Ethiopia: Existing Initiatives and Practices

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Addis Ababa University


Background: The use of ICT, such as computers, mobile phones, satellite communications, patient monitors, etc., to support health services and information exchange are becoming common place. The mHealth field has emerged as a sub-segment of eHealth. As such, it is observed that mobile technology has the potential to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of health care services and to impact almost every aspect of the health sector. The realization the potential of mobile devices to improve healthcare system resulted in many initiatives in mobile health in Ethiopia. Those initiatives have showed huge opportunities in the healthcare industry so far; however, whether they are sustainable and scalable remains to be seen. Objective: The main objective of this study is to explore the existing mHealth projects in Ethiopia with regard to their challenges, lessons learned and success factors. Method: The exploratory study design was conducted using qualitative research approach. The purposive sampling research method was adopted to select participants of the study. The data were then collected using in-depth interview, questionnaire and document review. Results: The researcher identified eight mHealth projects (seven are ongoing and one has ended). It is learnt that these projects are facing many challenges. Amongst them are poor network coverage, limited technological literacy of health workers, and sustainable financial support. Developing user-friendly system, pilot assessment and having M&E framework are some lessons taken from some of mHealth projects. Conclusion: Generally, we may conclude that mHealth projects have a significant impact in healthcare services delivery if government commitment, collaboration, capacity building of health workers, financial support, infrastructure and M&E are in place.



Mobile Health Application in Ethiopia