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Vodacom leads the m-health debate

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The Second Mobile Health Summit, organised by GSMA and the mHealth Alliance, was held before nearly 700 delegates last week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC).
Running from 29 May to 1 June, the summit attracted representatives from across the globe from NGOs, government ministries, the medical profession, healthcare workers, service providers and telecoms/mobile operators.

Vodacom and Vodafone were entrenched as a leading ICT partner in health, giving keynote speeches at the opening and closing of the summit and sponsoring several aspects of the event, including a demonstration area, m-health debate and the final day leadership forum.
“With over 29 ministries represented from local and other countries’ health organisations, we were thrilled to be at the leading edge of future policy formation and trends in the m-health arena,” says Maruis Conradie, executive head, M-health Services, Vodacom Business.

The mHealth Alliance is hosted by the United Nations Foundation, and founded by the Rockefeller Foundation, Vodafone Foundation and UN Foundation. The Alliance now also includes PEPFAR, HP, the GSM Association and Norad among its founding partners.
Taking place exclusively on the final day of the summit, the leadership forum is an invitation-only workshop, targeting decision-makers from telecommunication and health ministries, as well as regulatory authorities from African, Middle East and APAC countries.
Also participating in the debate were the major MNOs, vendors, industry experts, entrepreneurs and international health organisations with a passion to improve health delivery through the use of mobile technology.
Topics for discussion included:
* The integration of mobile into health and other sectors;
* Making mobile health a reality;
* How should governments be working together to foster innovation;
* Cross-border collaboration and scaling to global services;
* Government policies to foster m-health adoption and integration;
* The potential of mobile as a tool to improve efficiencies and health outcomes;
* Showcasing evidence of m-health impact on health systems; and
* M-health readiness: key drivers to create a positive environment.
In addition, four parallel roundtable discussions gave participants the opportunity to exchange and learn about the means to stimulate m-health, with each table comprising mobile operators, vendors, governments, regulators and invited third parties to ensure that the diversity of views were represented. The topics were:
* Policy environment;
* Investment;
* Universal coverage; and
* Regional harmonisation.
“We were privileged to participate in this collaborative approach to make mobile health a reality and look forward in playing a tangible role to scale m-health services across the African continent,” continues Conradie. “We heard what is working, what health service providers require, how communities are benefitting directly from numerous mobile health projects, and how lives are being saved.
“We have come away with proof that our partnering and enabling strategies as an end-to-end ICT provider, supported by sustainable and robust platforms like Mezzanine can indeed allow health service providers, governments and NGOs to deliver quality services to those in need,” he concludes.