13 October 2008

mHealth & Mobile TeleMedicine sessions

Image: © Foreby. Creative Commons License / SRR.



Conference engages private sector and public health leaders in developing vision for improved healthcare in the developing world

Bellagio, Italy (July 28, 2008) —

The United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation’s Technology Partnership (Technology Partnership) announced today the start of a conference session designed to harness the potential of mobile health (mHealth) to unlock access to health data and improve healthcare in the developing world. Co-facilitated by the Technology Partnership and the Telemedicine Society of India, the session is part of the Rockefeller Foundation conference “Making the eHealth Connection: Global Partners, Local Solutions.”

The “mHealth and Mobile Telemedicine” session is gathering 25 private sector and public health leaders to explore the challenges, opportunities and way forward in building mHealth systems that can improve the access, efficiency and quality of health services in the developing world. The overarching goal of the Rockefeller Foundation conference is to develop a roadmap and global partnerships that support the use of emerging digital technologies to improve public health.

“As global trends such as climate change, the food crisis, and human migration place increasing strains on developing country health systems, there is an ever larger need for technological innovation to help strengthen international public health efforts,” said Claire Thwaites, Technology Partnership Head, UN Foundation and Vodafone Group Foundation. “Developments in the field of mHealth in particular are creating a remarkable opportunity to bring about a sea change in healthcare delivery, even in the most resource-poor environments,” she added.

mHealth session participants include representatives of Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, and Qualcomm, as well as the Earth Institute, Gates Foundation, MIT, and the UN World Health Organization. Over the week, participants will examine the landscape of mHealth and mobile telemedicine, assess priority issues, and identify potential next steps for a multi-sector partnership dedicated to advancing mHealth programs in the Global South.

“Mobile phone use is exploding across the developing world, offering the opportunity to leapfrog other applications and services on both the health and technology fronts,” said Mitul Shah, Senior Director of Technology at the United Nations Foundation. “This collaborative effort with the Rockefeller Foundation and the other private sector and public health leaders assembled here this week opens the door for the kind of broader, public-private partnership that could bring us to a tipping point in addressing some of the most intractable public health challenges,” he said.

Note: For more information on the “mHealth and Mobile Telemedicine” session, visit the Rockefeller Foundation’s eHealth Connection website at http://www.ehealth-connection.org/.

About the UN Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation PartnershipThe UN Foundation-Vodafone Group Foundation Partnership strives to be the leading public-private alliance using strategic technology programmes to strengthen the UN’s humanitarian efforts worldwide. Created in October 2005, with a £10 million commitment from The Vodafone Group Foundation matched by £5 million from the UN Foundation, the Partnership has three core commitments: (1) to develop rapid response telecoms teams to aid disaster relief; (2) to develop health data systems that improve access to health data thereby helping to combat disease; and (3) to promote research and innovative initiatives using technology as an agent and tool for international development.

Further information can be found at: www.unfoundation.org/vodafone.

Katherine MillerUnited Nations FoundationM: (+1) 202.489.2205E:
kmiller@unfoundation.org I: www.unfoundation.org/vodafone

Helen BrockettThe Vodafone Group FoundationT: +44 (0) 7500 032886E: helen.brockett@vodafone.comI: http://www.vodafonefoundation.org/

Claire Thwaites
Head of the Vodafone Foundation and UN Foundation Partnership
Claire Thwaites joined the UN Foundation in December 2007; she heads the Partnership between the Vodafone Foundation and the United Nations Foundation.

Mitul Shah
Senior Director, Technology Partnerships
Mr. Mitul Shah is the Senior Director of Technology Partnerships at the United Nations Foundation. He is directing a partnership between the Vodafone Group Foundation and the UN Foundation. He is also directing the United Nations Foundation’s efforts on program evaluation and performance measurement.