‘The Phone is My Boss and My Helper’ – A Gender Analysis of an mHealth Intervention with Health Extension Workers in Southern Ethiopia
Datiko, Daniel G
Kea, Aschenaki Z
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Mobile health (mHealth) provides health services and information via mobile technologies, including mobile phones. There is considerable optimism in mHealth’s potential to overcome health systems’ deficiencies to ensure access to safe, effective and affordable health services. This has led to an ‘explosion of mHealth activities’ and ‘large-scale adoption and deployment of mobile phones’ by Community Health Worker (CHW) programmes. MHealth innovation in relation to CHWs, on which low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) disproportionately depend, has been reported to be ‘particularly promising’. CHWs’ use of mHealth has the potential to improve their motivation; decision-making; training; adherence to guidelines; data entry and quality; planning and efficiency; and communication and health promotion; while also enhancing coverage and timeliness of services and reducing costs. MHealth also allows the monitoring and tracking of health indicators in real time, providing crucial insights to policy makers and enabling CHWs to better serve communities.