Mobile technology is revolutionising health and health care in developing countries enabling health promotion campaigns, reminders about therapy and data collecting. To women it could provide a lifeline for them during pregnancy and birth. But what evidence is there that mobile messages are accessible to women in these situations and that they could change women’s behaviour? In this blog for International Women’s day I describe two mobile services and look for some evidence about the impact of mobiles on women’s health.
In 2004, a couple of years after I started work for CABI, I heard a talk
by Paul Chinnock, then part of the Cochrane Collaboration, (conduct systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare) and now editor of Tropika.net. Essentially this talk outlined
the need for evidence-based interventions for developing countries: amongst other suggestions, it called for a new
method to analyse evidence from small scale studies and for every Cochrane review to identify the most effective
intervention for both resource-poor and resource-rich settings.
Why was such an evidence base being provided
to the developed world by Cochrane but not to developing countries? To
understand the reason for this, you need to know how they work.