mHEALTH-INNOVATE (2) What can we learn from health workers' informal use of mobile phones? (2)

9 April, 2022

Good day Neil

Mobile phones have become an integral part of our work space in several ways.

We use them:

1. For quick communication through creation of WhatsApp groupings for various initiatives at work. For example, in the COVID 19 National Response, the various pillars have created WhatsApp groups for members for sharing information such as meeting schedules, daily situational reports, etc

2. WhatsApp platforms and messaging are used to transmit anonymised health data to the next level for compilation.

3. Urgent notices are posted on WhatApp platforms for quick dissemination.

4. Mobile phones are used to attend Virtual meetings once users download the applications that allow access to meeting platforms.

5. Telemedicine is being utilised when Health Care Workers consult each other on how to handles cases they encounter especially between different levels of care at the health facility.

However, use of mobile phones does create challenges in terms of confidentiality and information management. There are no formal policies and guidelines on use of mobile phones when transmitting information.

Others have resorted to using the WhatApp application that allows for a photo to be viewed once to send statistics and other images.

In my opinion, policies need to be put in place to formalise and guide use of mobile phones in the health system. Their use has proved to be invaluable in the COVID 19 pandemic with the use of phones to track cases, report statistics, coordinate response teams, monitor patients,patient self monitoring,etc.

Ethical considerations need to be strengthened in the use of mobile phones.


Venus Mushininga

HIFA profile: Venus Mushininga is a pharmacist with the Ministry of Health and Childcare in Zimbabwe. She is a founder and President of the Zimbabwe Society of Oncology Pharmacy and the Zimbabewan delegate to the European Society of Oncology Pharmacy. Professional interests: Oncology, Dissemination of information through to Health Professionals and the public, Research. She is co-coordinator of the HIFA working group on information for Prescribers and Users of Medicines.


Email: vmushininga AT