mHEALTH-INNOVATE (32) What can we learn from health workers' informal use of mobile phones? (16) Patient confidentiality

20 April, 2022

Dear Neil/Venus, [in response to Venus Mushininga, Zimbabwe: "I just want to find out how you dealt with issues of patient confidentiality in instances where visuals and videos had to be shared?" ]

While using phones to record videos, the community health workers recorded themselves while describing the condition/situation of the client but did not record the clients except in situations where there was physical reaction to the medicine. Even then, the health workers would record the affected part of the body.

This was considered an informal platform established by health facility healthy workers to ensure continued technical support, mentorships, patients' follow up etc during the local down. The health facility staff received funds for airtime from their Health Systems Strengthening partner to facilitate communication. They however used the funds to provide internet data and created a whatsApp platform to ease and promote group communication.

There are no formal guidelines for the use of such mobile phones and/or platforms. This is mainly due to the fact that such phones are personal property and their use is not mainstreamed into the health care system in the country.


HIFA profile: Immaculate Nakityo Lwanga is a Project Manager/Administrator at Makerere University College of Health Sciences, Uganda. She is interested in working with projects/programmes on HIV/AIDS, reproductive health, Health Systems Strengthening, socio-economic empowerment for vulnerable populations, Gender and women and Orphans and other Vulnerable children. Such programmes may focus on awareness and education, capacity building, direct service delivery and/or research. She is a member of the HIFA mHEALTH-INNOVATE working group.

Email: immacn AT