1st Philippine mHealth Forum

Promises and realities

mHealth in the Philippines

Promises and Realities

UNICEF and the UP Manila National Telehealth Center (UPM – NTHC) are implementing project rCHITS or Real time Monitoring of Vital Maternal and Child Health Indicators through the Community Health Information Tracking System which was developed to strengthen the health information systems of health facilities across the country through the use of ICTs. For this project, UNICEF has selected sites that are part of the 7th Country Program of Cooperation (CPC) in various part of Northern Mindanao as well as three cities in Luzon and Mindanao. One of the main components of rCHITS is mReports which focuses on equipping field health workers with the capacity to report maternal and child health services rendered, create appointments for and send reminders to patients on maternal and child care services in real-time through the use of mobile phone and SMS Technology. mReports is just one of the many mHealth innovations and technologies that exists in the country developed by both the public and private sector. A forum would be one of the ways in which the local mHelath community can come together and share their experiences among each other.

mHealth is defined as “a medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDA), and other wireless devices” . Many countries implement mHealth interventions to address local health problems like in South Africa, a project named Project Masiluleke is aimed to increase the people’s awareness of HIV through the use SMS technology.

However, most of these mHealth efforts do not move beyond the pilot phase. Despite hundreds of mHealth pilot studies, there has been insufficient programmatic evidence to inform implementation and scale-up of mHealth . Scaling up of mHealth in the Philippines is challenging because of limited funds, infrastructure limitations (e.g. Internet connectivity, network signal, etc.), and insufficient LGU coordination among others.

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