The Ebola pandemic has exposed the state of health services and systems in West Africa and the devastating impact these have for the health of populations. This event provided a space for debate, sharing and developing solutions collaboratively.
As the post-2015 agenda takes shape, developing countries are acknowledging the importance of strong health systems to achieve health impact and the critical importance of skilled and connected frontline health workers. As a capacity building mechanism mobile technology can help governments address the geographic and economic constraints limiting health service delivery in resource-poor settings. Mobile devices represent a key opportunity for developing countries to reach isolated health workers, and manage procurement more effectively. Furthermore, mobile technologies offer exponential opportunities for intelligent devices to automate data collection, disease surveillance, rapid testing, improve accountability, and strengthen the interconnections between health workers, health facilities and Health Ministries.
Building on the harmonisation and coordination meeting in Accra in May, this forward-looking Wilton Park dialogue considered the shift from crisis response to focus on long-term approaches that strengthen routine systems and offer sustainable capacity building and resilience for health in West Africa. Great work has already begun, and broader policy planning and financing mechanisms are being initiated. The aim of the discussions were to facilitate commitments and ongoing collaboration between organisations and individuals at the meeting which contribute to scaling up and institutionalising core sets of appropriate technology solutions.
It uniquely brought together the health policy-making, medical, telecom, biotech and donor communities for a dynamic perspective on mHealth and health systems in the discreet Wilton Park setting, conducive to in-depth, collaborative conversation.
The meeting sought to:
- Create and engage a network of policymakers, practitioners and private sector from developing and more advanced economies
- Share knowledge and experiences on innovative technologies for health systems strengthening
- Draw on case studies to share lessons and best practice