The GSM Association (GSMA) announced the launch of their new Mobile for Development mHealth programme as part of a new cross-ecosystem partnership.

The programme will launch in September and is geared to provide nutrition services to women and children in South Africa and other Sub-Saharan countries.

The launch partners include MTN, Samsung, Mobilium, Gemalto, Hello Doctor, Lifesaver, Mobenzi and Omega Diagnostics. Director of health at the GSMA, Dr Craig Friderichs, said the partnership will integrate the functions and capabilities of all the companies on board – some of which are in manufacturing, while others deal with application development.

The partners collectively aim to simplify the relationships between mobile and health stakeholders, while maximising the capabilities of mobile technology for health providers and patients. The use of mHealth will improve the quality and uptake of health content, patient registration, data collection and critical diagnostics.

The programme aims to facilitate African countries in reaching some of the United Nation’s (UN’s) millennium development goals, including reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and combating HIV/AIDS and other diseases. “With less than 550 days remaining before the millennium development goal deadlines, the role of the private sector and public-private partnerships has become ever more important,” said Friderichs.

Earlier this year UK-based mobile strategy company, Mobilium Global, launched their Smart Health application to promote health and wellness among African users. The application will be one of the solutions offered as part of the new ecosystem announced by the GSMA.

On the partnership, MTN Group Chief Commercial Officer, Pieter Verkade said: “This partnership heralds a new era in the delivery of health care in Sub-Saharan Africa, where currently access to even the most basic of health services remains the worst in the world. MTN is therefore proud to be part of this collaborative effort, which will deliver solutions that harnesses the expertise of some of the leading companies in the world, to improve access to health care for many of our customers across the seven launch countries.”

Head of Content and Services at Samsung Electronics Africa, Thabiet Allie, added: “Healthcare in Africa has benefited greatly from advancements in mobile technology. Simultaneously, the healthcare industry is moving towards a delivery model that is more patient-centered, value-based and accessible in even remote environments. In this regard, Samsung is perfectly positioned to add value to this digital evolution in healthcare, as our devices are both at the cutting edge of innovation and available widely across the continent.”

Friderichs noted that the “launch of the programme is a call to action for health, development and mobility organisations to come on board the partnership in a bid to develop the mHealth solutions.”

The second phase will launch at the beginning of 2015 and will target east African nations.

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