January 25, 2016

Mobile Tech for Family Planning and More

Written by Margarite Nathe, senior editor/writer, IntraHealth International

“In a few years, everyone’s going to be using smartphones.”


Informatics technical advisor Amanda Puckett BenDor of IntraHealth International is holding up a smartphone. There are 2.6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide today, but tech companies believe that number will grow to 6.1 billion by 2020.

Mobile technology is constantly changing, BenDor said Sunday during the lead up to theInternational Conference on Family Planning—and so is the way we use it to improve health care.

Today, health workers in even the most remote settings have access to basic mobile phones. But soon smartphones will be the norm, and mHealth programs will have to keep up.

mHealth (short for mobile health, or using mobile devices in the practice of medicine or public health) can make for stronger family planning programs through distance learning for health workers, data collection, and more.

In fact, mHealth can strengthen entire health systems.

Take mHero, for example, a mobile platform developed by IntraHealth and UNICEF. It connects ministry of health officials in West Africa to health workers throughout their countries—a powerful tool as the region recovers from Ebola and works to reinstate health services that may have fallen by the wayside during the epidemic, including family planning.

Read more at: As Spirits Rise in Sierra Leone, Technology Offers More than Ebola Recovery

BenDor presented “mHealth Spotlight! Making use of mobile technologies to improve family planning services” at the Knowledge for Health Project’s event “Knowledge, Action, Results: How to translate global family planning tools to the local level” on January 24, 2016.

IntraHealth International is a partner in the Knowledge for Health Project, which is funded by the US Agency for International Development.

This post originally appeared on Picture It by IntraHealth International.