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Airtel joins GSMA mhealth partnership across sub-Saharan Africa

04 November 2014, 15:04 Nechesa Chemoi

Nairobi - Airtel has partnered with global mobile trade association the GSMA, to support its cross-ecosystem mHealth partnership programme. 
The initiative is designed to provide a range of services to women and children, with a particular focus on nutrition, across 11 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The mobile health ecosystem partnership, developed by the GSMA, was announced in June 2014 in collaboration with partners providing various services, including Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi, Mobilium, Omega Diagnostics and Samsung.  

Collectively, the partnership will reduce barriers to handset ownership and connectivity for consumers and health workers and aims to connect the mobile and health industries to collaboratively develop commercially sustainable mHealth services that meet public health needs. 

The initiative could have far-reaching impact, given that there is a total annual, addressable market of 15.5 million pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of five years, according to GSMA Intelligence.Airtel Africa CEO Christian de Faria said the partnership takes full advantage of mobile technology to provide healthcare information and services in Sub-Saharan Africa to support the scale-up of mHealth in nutrition, maternal and child health. 

“The partnership will leverage existing and new Airtel SIMs to allow access to health content, health registration and data collection,” he added.

GSMA Chief Regulatory Officer Tom Phillips said the programme is committed to connecting the mobile and health industries to develop commercially sustainable mHealth services that meet public health needs.

“We are working with companies such as Airtel to deliver the objectives of the United Nations Every Women Every Child Global Strategy, as well as the Global Nutrition for Growth Compact, in the areas of nutrition and maternal and child health. We call on mobile ecosystem players, health providers, governments, NGOs, civil society and others to join this initiative to create life-saving mobile health services,” he said.

Through these commitments, Airtel, GSMA and other partners aim to simplify the relationships between mobile and health stakeholders, whilst maximizing the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology and its capabilities for health providers and, ultimately, for patients. Health content, patient registration, data collection and critical diagnostics will increase the access to health care for vulnerable women and children across Africa, while providing the delivery mechanism for mHealth services. 

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