Use of mHealth technologies to treat and prevent disease urged by UN
A recent announcement was made from the United Nations regarding mobile communication and various information technologies and tools. This comes at a time when the proliferation of mobile phones around the world has increased the awareness of their potential to promote healthy lifestyles and inform people of medically relevant information.
The imedicalapps team has previously reported on the potential for this technology here in America as well as any underserved population.
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the President of the 66th Session of the General Assembly, urged leaders from around the world to promote applications which are able to prevent and control diseases through mobile phones.
“Only five years ago, who would have imagined that today a woman in sub-Saharan Africa could use a mobile phone to access health information on bringing her pregnancy safely to term, or that today a young person in the Middle East could use a mobile phone to help manage diabetes, Mr. Al-Nasser said at the South-South Awards ceremony on Digital Health for Development, on the sidelines of the General Assembly’s High-level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs).”
Mr. Al-Nasser believes that a new frontier is emerging. This digital health for development frontier represents a new approach to global health and could facilitate the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) health targets.
The point of the MDGs is to foster growth and development by improving social and economic conditions in the world’s poorest countries. The goals are derived from earlier international development targets, and were officially established following the Millennium Summit in 2000, where all world leaders present adopted the United Nations Millennium Declaration.
There are a total of eight goals which include reducing poverty and hunger, providing universal education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership to achieve all these goals. A deadline of achieving these goals has been set for 2015. While the deadline is not set in stone, it does represent a defined time period to work towards.
“Indeed, there is growing evidence that the use of these technologies can be a critical component of some aspects of health. I fully believe that information and communications technologies can enable countries to meet the 2015 deadline,” he added.”
Even though a great deal of progress has been made, as evidenced by their website, there is still quite a ways to go before all the goals are achieved. Integrating mobile technology with the goals, though, is a step in the right direction.