UN, Vodafone Group Foundations Announce Mobile Health Conference Session

The United Nations Foundation in Washington, D.C., has announced the start of a conference session designed to explore the challenges, opportunities, and way forward in building mobile health (mHealth) systems that can improve the access, efficiency, and quality of health services in the developing world.

Co-facilitated by the Telemedicine Society of India and the technology partnership between the UN and Vodafone Group foundations, the "mHealth and Mobile Telemedicine" session is part of the Rockefeller Foundation conference Making the eHealth Connection: Global Partners, Local Solutions, in which participants will work to develop global partnerships and a roadmap that support the use of emerging digital technologies to improve public health.

The session will bring together twenty-five private sector and public health leaders, including representatives from Cisco Systems, Google, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the World Health Organization. During the week-long session, participants will examine the landscape of mobile health and telemedicine, assess priority issues, and identify potential next steps for a multi-sector partnership dedicated to advancing mobile health programs in the global South.

"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, head of the technology partnership. "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."

"Experts Assemble to Tackle Global Health Challenges Using Mobile Technology." United Nations Foundation and Exxon Mobil Foundation Press Release 07/28/2008.