Your input on use of Morphine at family level in palliative care (6) Hesperian and essential healthcare information for all

9 January, 2020

Dear Todd,

Many thanks for your message.

"At Hesperian, we don't only talk about making Health Information for All, we do it!"

Indeed, Hesperian is arguably the leading publisher of primary health care books, including the flagship publication Where There is No Doctor.

Currently, however, access and use of such information remains minuscule in terms of percentage penetration of the population of LMICs. Much less than, for example, access to Coca-Cola or even the interenet and WhatsApp.

The HIFA Mobile Healthcare Information For All working group (mHIFA) has long campaigned for increased political and financial support to make essential healthcare information much more available through mobile phones. See for example our 2015 Lancet Global Health article here:

and our poster (with thanks to Geoff Royston) at the Health Systems Research symposium in Liverpool 2018:

I would like to (re)open this critical discussion on HIFA about *how* the basic healthcare information contained in WTIND, other Hesperian publications and indeed other resources (notably the Red Cross First Aid app) can truly become ubiquitous.

To date, the mHIFA working group have discussed a number of options on how this might be achieved/accelerated:

1. Pre-loading of mobile phones with essential health information before sale (perhaps with incentivisation of telecoms through advertising/market share, financial support, and/or government licensing requirement)

2. Post-loading of mobile phones, with guidance from health clinics or libraries

3. Increased support for current approaches (translation of content, distribution of paper-based materials, assistance with marketing...)

4. Enhanced monitoring and evaluation of the impact of healthcare information.

Some of the above may turn out to be non-starters, but they remain to be properly explored. And there are doubtless other avenues we could pursue.

Todd, it would be great to hear from you about your thoughts on all this, and how HIFA as a global campaign and discussion forum can assist Hesperian moving forward.

The mHIFA group has benefited from longstanding representation from Hesperian. We have learned that the main barrier at Hesperian is very pragmatic, and echoes almost every other provider of healthcare information on HIFA, namely to identify the financial support needed to maintain and develop new ventures. If we can identify approaches that would massively scale up the access and use of essential healthcare information, this would be a compelling driver for any future funder.

Best wishes, Neil

Let's build a future where people are no longer dying for lack of healthcare information - Join HIFA:

HIFA profile: Neil Pakenham-Walsh is coordinator of the HIFA global health campaign (Healthcare Information For All - ), a global community with more than 19,000 members in 177 countries, interacting on six global forums in four languages. Twitter: @hifa_org FB: