The role of mhealth in the fight against tuberculosis
Using mobile phones to increase the dissemination of TB information
The document notes that mobile phones make ideal tools for the wide dissemination of information relating to TB prevention, diagnosis, and control; yet, their potentials remains relatively underexplored. To change this, the author highlights some mobile solutions from the field:
- combining reminders with incentives, which can be sent as phone credits or as cash via mobile banking, offers new opportunities to support people with TB to complete their treatment and to play an active role in their own health
- the additional functionality of smartphones, such as touch screens with icon’s guided menu options, or the so-called “apps” can enable even illiterate people to utilise mobile phone based treatment support
- mobile’s application and accessory attachments can be very useful for active TB case finding in vulnerable groups, which make it easier for health care personnel to collect and manage large volumes of data.
- using the Integrate Global Positioning System (GPS) to enable phones to monitor the location of where field workers enter patient data
- establishing a wide public-private partnerships for the development or the roll out of such new tools
- strengthening and expanding the evidence base that would enable decision-making and prioritisation for further investment
- close collaboration among technical developers, national programmers and those who will eventually use the system.