mHealth Alliance South Africa bound

December 8, 2013 in Medical Technology

The mHealth Alliance plans to transition its base of operations in 2014 from the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC to South Africa.

In the coming months, the mHealth Alliance will finalize a full transition plan for 2014, including a proposal to co-locate with the Johannesburg-based Praekelt Foundation, a long-standing leader in mobile for social good.

The move reflects the Alliance’s natural evolution to engage in projects and initiatives that focus on specific countries or regions, while still maintaining the powerful global voice it has cultivated through its relationship with the UN Foundation, according to a statement the alliance released on Dec. 6.

As the statement explains the decision, since the mHealth Alliance’s was founded five years ago, the mHealth community has moved from the question of whether mHealth ought to be pursued to the question of how to most effectively implement mHealth to transform the health and wellbeing of the world’s most vulnerable populations.

The mHealth Alliance is responding the shift and is doing so after consulting with the UN Foundation, its Partnership Board and other key partners, mHealth Alliance Executive Director Patty Mechael said in a news release. The move will enable the Alliance to better capitalize on the momentum to reach the Millennium Development Goals and maximize its impact on bringing mHealth to scale in developing countries, she said.

[See also: Developing nations to garner mHELP.]

“In the past five years, the mHealth Alliance has been proud to play an important role in advancing the field of mobile health through thought leadership and by convening a range of stakeholders,” said Mechael added. “The Alliance is now responding to the changing needs of the field and making a strategic decision to relocate to the part of the world where we are doing our most critical work. This transition allows us to continue our global advocacy work, while giving us the opportunity to bring our convening power and technical expertise to diverse and innovative mHealth communities on the country and regional level.”

The mHealth Alliance’s membership includes nearly 300 organizations from 59 countries, and it has delivered 26 catalytic grants, as well as technical support, to organizations in 14 countries that aim to reach 31 million people with mobile health information and services.

The Alliance powers Health Unbound, an interactive network and knowledge sharing center that offers more than 8,500 members access to more than 20,000 resources. The Alliance has produced more than 20 publications on wide-ranging mHealth topics, and it has spearheaded a number of projects, partnerships and initiatives designed to strengthen the enabling environment for mHealth in low- and middle-income countries.

[See also: Growth in the cards for mobile market.]

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