This is a very interesting publication from WHO – but long and 3.4 Mb to download. It covers the use of mobile technology for professional consultations, health call centres, reminders about medication/ appointments and alerts about epidemics to name but a few programmes.
These are all interesting, but under the chapter heading Information Initiatives (defined as: “services that provide access to health science publications or databases at point of care using mobile devices”) there was relatively little apart from a Canadian project using PDAs to access information when in a remote location”. Nevertheless the report identified a need for mobile access to information for both practice and education.
Mobile phones are widespread in Africa. Governments are expressing an interest in the technology to complement existing health systems in attaining Millennium Development Goals; so maybe it is time for librarians to think ‘mobile’ alongside whatever other methods they may be taking to make health information more accessible to ordinary people or health professionals.
Jean Shaw, Partnerships in Health Information