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Medic Mobile's response to the Sustainable Development Goals

sdg-blog-jacqueline

October 06, 2015

Author: Jacqueline Edwards

Last week, our team returned from UNGA events celebrating the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and the formal adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We were inspired and honored to spend time with partners and hear of accomplishments from the past 15 years and commitments going forward.

Our mission at Medic Mobile focuses primarily around SDG #3, "to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages". Through our day to day work with partners and the discussions we participated in around the UNGA, one thing is evident, we will not achieve these goals without two key elements: innovation and strong partnerships.

Partnerships

As a non profit technology company, Medic Mobile works directly with partners to implement projects and deploy our tools to support community health workers and improve access, adherence and quality of care.

A recent Forbes article highlighted how strong partnerships will fuel the 2030 agenda and recognized Medic Mobile's work with over 50 partners.

Through our partnership with One Heart World-Wide and the UN Foundation in Nepal, we will have scaled to 1,200 health workers by the end of 2016. None of this would be possible without the trust, commitment and collaboration that comes with a strong partnership. Close coordination with the Ministry of Health and participation in the eHealth Advisory Group for the Ministry have been critical to building a program that fits the needs of the District in which we work. As we look towards 2030, we understand that direct partnerships with the Ministries of Health will play a key factor in building sustainable mHealth solutions. Continuing to understand that context and health infrastructure vary greatly in last mile communities has allowed us to adapt our priority use cases and support community health workers in 23 countries since 2009.

While presenting at the Aspen Spark Incubator on Delivering Health to Last Mile Communities on September 24th, we saw this theme throughout the day. Medic Mobile discussed how dashboards and data collection can be put to service for last mile communities, contributing to health workforce management and setting tasks and targets for programs. Other partners shared successes around health financing and building ministerial leadership to strengthen the community health sub system.


Innovation

Innovation and fostering local solutions to development was at the forefront of many panels and discussions that we attended. As we discuss innovation in low resource countries, we must remember that co-creation of a solution is the best way forward in achieving these goals. To harness the strengths that innovation can offer the development community, we need to focus on local partnerships and be comprehensive and purposeful in our approach.

We need to remind ourselves that innovation is not just a buzzword or a tech solution, that it represents innovation in design and the delivery of solutions that fit locally identified needs. Medic Mobile's long time focus on Human Centered Design, demonstrates this commitment. We have learned this again and again when working with partners to co-create mHealth tools that work for them. More recently, we have had the privilege of building our local design capacity in the countries where we deliver products.

Our friends at Johnson & Johnson and HealthEnabled hosted an engaging discussion on "Bridging the Digital Divide: Digital Health Technology in the SDG Era." This refreshing session highlighted the significant successes of the mHealth community over the past five years and the learnings that we have gathered through project deployments and formal studies.


We also had a lively discussion about the gaps in the evidence, designing for scale and the need for focused collaboration across the mHealth ecosystem. This group of diverse stakeholders highlighted the need to dig deeper into pricing to ensure sustainable technologies. We also must better demonstrate the cost effectiveness of mHealth interventions to our partners at Ministries of Health to ensure long term uptake of tools. Resources like the principles for digital development continue to remind us of the importance of collaboration, interoperability and a focus on using our resources wisely for bottom of the pyramid communities.Three pieces stood out as a call to action for digital health community that J&J brought together:

1. We need to continue to build the evidence base

2. We must all look for opportunities to leverage systems, especially in an increasingly digital world

3. We have to keep women and children at the center of this work to meet the SDGs.

This call to action resonates deeply with our team at Medic Mobile and all three are core to our strategy for 2016 and beyond. At Medic Mobile, we acknowledge the complexity of achieving the SDGs and look forward to 2030 with humility and optimism. We'll continue to focus on our contribution to SDG #3 -- building tools to better support health workers and supporting our partners to deliver sustainable mHealth programs.

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