M4health Dialogue

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By: Tim Thomas, Senior Advisor, MHTF

It was my great pleasure to moderate the most recent Maternal Health Policy Dialogue at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, co-sponsored by the MHTF and UNFPA with invaluable technical assistance from USAID: “New Applications for Existing Technologies to Improve Maternal Health.” An impressive panel was convened; each of them brought a unique and complementary perspective to the role that digital technologies, especially mobile phones, can and does play in improving maternal health in developing countries.

As they have done with each of these Maternal Health Policy Dialogues, our colleagues at the Woodrow Wilson Center have posted an excellent summary report along with photos and copies of the panelists’ presentations on their website. A video of the session is also available there.

New and existing communications technologies demonstrate great potential to fill vital gaps in referral, data collection, training, patient monitoring and so many other challenges to improving maternal health especially in remote communities. This policy dialogue and the upcoming mHealth Summit are contributing to the exciting and accelerating movement to apply existing communications technologies to solving one of the world’s most enduring and devastating public health challenges: maternal mortality and morbidity.