Grant recipients named for UN's 'Every Woman Every Child' effort

By Eric Wicklund, Editor, mHIMSS
Eight mobile health-related projects designed to improve the health of women and children have been named grant winners in the "Every Woman Every Child" program, coordinated by the mHealth Alliance and the UN's Innovation Working Group.

Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, the grants are designed to help projects that identify and foster innovative uses of mobile technology to advance maternal and newborn health, with a special focus on developing self-sustaining programs that make an early impact.

"Each of the eight recipient initiatives has demonstrated innovative mobile technology solutions to obstacles in health and healthcare practices," said Patty Mechael, executive director of the mHealth Alliance, who announced the winners Tuesday at the mHealth Summit. "From providing maternal and newborn health information via mobile phones to building technology that supports clinical decision making, these initiatives all focus helping the world's most vulnerable populations lead a healthier life."

The two-year grants are targeted at mobile health projects in countries with large populations of low-income families. They'll be used to establish partnerships and build resources to reach communities in need and evolve into a national program.

The recipients are:

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), which is designing and deploying a central computing infrastructure that can be used in a number of countries to expedite the sharing of laboratory test results and track program data online in real time.

Dimagi, Inc., which is developing a case management solution for community health workers that enables them to manage enrollment and support and track their clients and activities via mobile phone.

D-Tree International, which is scaling up a mobile phone-based decision support application that will help health workers in the Tanzanian city of Zanzibar to identify and treat children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

The Grameen Foundation, which will increase support services for its successful MoTech project in Ghana, which provides maternal and child health information to residents through a fee-for-service model in urban areas to subsidize services to the poor in rural areas.

International Relief and Development (IRD) – Pakistan, which will scale up an existing phone-based vaccine registry called Interactive Alerts, which uses RFID stickers placed on an infant's government-issued immunization card and SMS reminders to improve immunization coverage.

The Novartis Foundation, which is using mobile phones, SMS and electronic mapping technology in its SMS for Life program to track weekly stock levels of anti-malarial medicines in health facilities in remote parts of Africa.

The Rwanda Ministry of Health, which is scaling up its mHealth system to allow community health workers to track pregnant women and collect and report on Millennium Development Goal indicators at the community level.

Cell-Life, which will scale up a program conducted in a partnership with Vodacom that uses mobile messaging to support women in the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV program in South Africa.

"Norad is proud to support the efforts of these grantees and their partners to scale up their vital work for women and children through the use of mobile technology," said Frederik Kristensen, project manager for the Innovation Working Group on behalf of Norad and a member of the mHealth Alliance Partnership Board.  "Through his Every Woman Every Child initiative, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the global community to accelerate collaboration and enhance innovation to improve the health of women and children at the bottom of the pyramid. Through these grants, we hope to do just that, and invite other funders to join us in expanding this program."

"As the mHealth Alliance continues to strengthen our position and convening power across a broad range of stakeholders platforms like the Innovation Working Group, the catalytic grants program allow us to act as a neutral ground for governments, international agencies, NGOs, multi-national corporations and academic institutions to work together to catalyze and apply innovation in ways that improve the health and quality of life of women and children and their families," added Mechael.

The Innovation Working Group was established by the UN Secretary-General to support the Every Woman Every Child initiative, launched in 2010.

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