XIX International AIDS Conference

WEWS11 Showcasing the Potential and Role of Mobile Technology in Turning the Tide on HIV and Other Diseases
  Leadership & Accountability Skills Development
Venue: Mini Room 2
Time: 25.07.2012, 14:30 - 18:00
Language:           English

Level:                  Advanced

Target audience: Health care worker, Researcher, Media

Seating limits:    100
Facilitator: Patricia Mechael, United States
Mobile technologies present a unique opportunity to address health care delivery challenges and improve health outcomes in low and middle income countries. The strong penetration of mobile phone networks allows people in hard to reach areas to obtain health-related information. The portability and flexibility of mobile devices means community health workers can have decision making support so they can do some of the tasks of formal health care providers. This workshop will cover these and other advantages of mobile technologies for responding to HIV. Participants will learn about the state of the field of 'mhealth' and of experiences and best practices in the cost-effective use of mobile technologies for such interventions as behaviour change, health education, and treatment, including adherence to medication. Based on their newly acquired knowledge, participants will explore interactively how they can use mobile technologies to address the specific challenges they encounter in their daily HIV work.

Welcome and overview of the content and structure of the workshop

P. Mechael, United States

Introduction to the speakers

L. van Deth, Netherlands

The current landscape of the use of mobile phones for work on HIV in resource poor settings: A general introduction

P. Mechael, United States

Best practices, experiences and lessons learnt on using mobile phones to impact HIV behavioural change'

E. Gnay Namirembe, Uganda

Questions and answers


Supportive mHealth: Using mobile systems in prevention of mother to child transmission and HIV support services

P. Benjamin, South Africa

Use of mobile technology to improve HIV care and retention: A country case study from Swaziland

C. Azih, Swaziland

Questions and answers

Small group exercises

Small group presentations

Responses from the presenters to the presentations

Questions and answers


P. Mechael, United States

Powerpoints presentations
Best practices, experiences and lessons learnt on using mobile phones to impact HIV behavioural change' - Eunice Gnay Namirembe

Supportive mHealth: Using mobile systems in prevention of mother to child transmission and HIV support services - Peter Benjamin

Rapporteur report

CPC report by Andrew Spieldenner

The session was packed, as people were clearly excited about getting information on the use of mobile technology in public health.  While nearly everyone has access to a mobile phone and many prefer mobile phones to other communication channels, there has been little in the development of prevention and health packages that include new media.

Eunice Namirembe presented on the use of mobile phones in Uganda, where a generalized HIV epidemic is taking place.  Mobile phones have been used in telehealth and M-health initiatives in tuberculosis, family planning, data collection and medical adherence.  In HIV, the M-health initiative has put quizzes on basic HIV knowledge through mobile phones.  The cost per person is less than $1 USD.  Text messaging has been useful in organizing people for HIV testing, leading to a 100% increase in voluntary counseling and testing in the week the text was sent. One of the lessons learned was that text messaging must exist within a larger initiative of communication channels.

Dr. Peter Benjamin showcased a project that used M-health in vertical transmission initiatives.  By using a variety of text messaging themes, the initiative gave information to women on a range of health issues, including vaccines, breastfeeding, bonding, hygiene, clinic attendance and postnatal concerns.  Dr. Benjamin pointed out that every trial has shown that people like messaging, but the studies have thus far had small impact.  The great potential is actually more hype than reality, and there is a major issue of going to scale.  The pilot studies fail to account for the fact that sustainability requires 2-3 years of embedding the program within the local community.

Dr. CI Azih discussed the Swaziland initiative.  Dr. Azih pointed out that the ideal intervention must be simple and easy to implement, of high impact and at a low cost.  In addition, the population to be served must have high mobile phone ownership, broad network coverage and high literacy.  At the systems level, the use of M-health requires extensive training and buy in of clinical staff over the technology and confidentiality concerns.


    The organizers reserve the right to amend the programme.

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