According to World Health Organization estimates, the shortage of global health care workers is projected to grow from about 7.2 million today to 12.9 million by 2035. The deficit is especially acute in India and other low- and middle-income countries where a lack of trained midwives puts maternal and child health at high risk.
During the Global Education and Technology Health (GETHealth) Summit in Dublin, Ireland, last week, Wireless Reach published our newest white paper, “Opportunities to Improve Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health in India through Smartphones and 3G Connectivity Solutions.”
This new report examines the current environment for mobile content and mobile tools that are supporting frontline health workers in India to improve maternal, neonatal and child health outcomes in low-resource settings. It identifies challenges and opportunities for mobile health (mHealth) solutions. It also suggests areas where mHealth solutions can support the Government of India’s plans to strengthen its cadres of frontline health workers and improve the workers’ performance in regards to maternal, neonatal and child health.
Over the last several years working with Wireless Reach, I have seen an increased and necessary focus on supporting health workers globally with mobile enabled tools. We have worked with many of these critical care givers across the globe, whether it be “promotoras” in Mexico, community health doctors in China, or midwives in Morocco and Nigeria. Now, with the publication of this new research, I hope that the opportunities described in the white paper will inspire new ideas to help improve maternal and child health not just in India, but all over the world.
The GETHealth Summit, co-sponsored by Wireless Reach this year, brings together leaders in health, education and information technology to discuss and develop initiatives aimed at bridging the health workforce gap in developing countries. While at the Summit, I participated as a panelist on a plenary session focused on emerging mHealth and point-of-care devices that will impact providers in resource-limited settings. The session included a mix of stakeholders with diverse backgrounds, which led to a vibrant discussion on how point of care tools can address some of the most pervasive global health care challenges, as seen with our CliniPAK 360 program. The program was originally designed to improve maternal and child health; however, because of the rapid adaptability of the mobile broadband platform, it has been easily and quickly re-configured to aid in knowledge building around Ebola identification and treatment in the region.
Working on the Wireless Reach team, I have been privileged to be in a position where I can advocate for and help effect positive change in health care through the promotion of advanced wireless technologies. The GETHealth Summit provided a global stage for sharing how mHealth solutions can create impact across a range of challenges.