1 May 2012
Before I left for Tanzania, I received a number of “Where?” / “Tasmania?” / “I had to Google Tanzania” remarks. I therefore benchmarked my location via Kenya, our much more familiar neighbouring country to the north. Kenya has iHub amongst a number of other prominent mobile initiatives and Tanzania? We’re not quite there but have certainly not been left out of the flourishing mHealth space.
Tanzania is unique in that the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) has appointed a dedicated National mHealth Coordinator who oversees mHealth initiatives rolled out throughout the country. Initiatives led and coordinated by the mHealth Coordinator include:
- mHealth Community of Practice - regular gathering comprised of practitioners, researchers and partners who meet regularly to discuss projects and current topics in mHealth
- mHealth Tanzania Partnership – connecting with mHealth developers to ensure alignment with the Ministry’s interoperability and scalability requirements for nation-wide use would be considered in the development. As mentioned in the latest Mobile Monday in Dar es Salaam, the Ministry “can finance the development and buy the applications that are developed together” and are “happy to meet with any developer even with just an idea to see if it could be implemented under the partnership.”
- There is A LOT of duplication of efforts happening. Many attendees pitched their projects and a large number were identified as already being done or having already been done by another organization. Landscape analysis is a must.
- Clinics in Dar es Salaam must be involved in a number of pilots. Pilotitis – it’s the biggest disease in mHealth for a reason.