mHEALTH-INNOVATE (35) What can we learn from health workers' informal use of mobile phones? (17)

22 April, 2022

Dear Neil,

Thanks for proposing such an important theme and it is very interesting to hear the perspectives from the users in the field during the pandemic.

Today all health providers use mobile phones for social and health information updates, while some are also connected with patients.

However not all patients and the marginalised population are equipped with mobile phones and some who have may not be connected to health care services or seek updated health information.

Covid-19 pandemic has clearly highlighted the gaps in our health systems and the community needs to access timely and evidence-based updated health information and debunk misinformation.

Mobile phone during the challenging lonely periods was sometimes the only device for health care workers to connect with each other both for physical and psychological support.

Therefore, having learnt lessons it is the perfect hour to address urgently the utility of a sustainable mobile phone technology for improving all areas of health care services at national level and not alone for individually funded projects.

Mobile phone technology should be explored by multisectoral stakeholders to formally build a robust public-private partnerships in order to strengthen access to timely healthcare particularly for the marginalised population.

This requires collaborations at national level from ministries of telecommunications, finance, health and education to include mobile technologies for strengthening health systems.

Best wishes

Dr Meena Nathan Cherian, MBBS, MD (Anaesthesia)

Former WHO Lead Emergency and Essential Surgical Care Program, Geneva, Switzerland.

Senior Advisor, Global Action, International Society of Geriatric Oncology (SIOG), Switzerland.

Director, Global Health New Challenges:online courses, Geneva Foundation for Medical Education & Research (GFMER), Switzerland.

WHO-HIFA Working Group on Essential Health Services and COVID-19

World Health Network ZEROCOVID, Global Summit Team.

Geneva, Switzerland. +41 763837253(m);

HIFA profile: Meena Cherian is Director, Emergency & Surgical Care program, Geneva Foundation of Medical Education and Research, Geneva, Switzerland. She is a member of the HIFA working group on Essential Health Services and COVID-19. cherianm15 AT