The mHealth Alliance plans to shift its base of operations in 2014 from the United Nations Foundation in Washington, DC to South Africa. mHealth Alliance hope to finalize a full transition plan for 2014, including a proposal to co-locate with the Johannesburg-based Praekelt Foundation, a long-standing leader in mobile for social good.
The move reflects the Alliance’s natural evolution to engage in projects and initiatives that focus on specific countries or regions, while still maintaining the powerful global voice it has cultivated through its relationship with the UN Foundation, according to a statement the alliance released on Dec. 6.
mHealth Alliance Executive Director Patty Mechae, said in a news release that mHealth Alliance is responding the shift and is doing so after consulting with the UN Foundation, its Partnership Board and other key partners. The move will enable the Alliance to better capitalize on the momentum to reach the Millennium Development Goals and maximize its impact on bringing mHealth to scale in developing countries. She gave an example of the alliance engagement with different countries as positive. “From our work with the Innovation Working Group mHealth grantees in 14 countries throughout the world, to our engagement with the Government of Nigeria’s Saving One Million Lives initiative, and now to our exciting network of mHealth experts on the country and regional level through the mHealth Expert Learning Program (mHELP).”
In addition, she said that “The Alliance is now responding to the changing needs of the field and making a strategic decision to relocate to the part of the world where we are doing our most critical work. This transition allows us to continue our global advocacy work, while giving us the opportunity to bring our convening power and technical expertise to diverse and innovative mHealth communities on the country and regional level.”
On the other hand, UN Foundation President and CEO Kathy Calvin said in a news release, “This transition represents a unique opportunity to move an initiative beyond incubation and to a point where it can have an even greater impact on achieving the MDGs.” Calvin added that the UN Foundation would continue to be engaged in the work of mobile health and to support the Alliance’s efforts to mainstream mobile technology into health systems, and also in the mHealth work through the Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).”
The mHealth Alliance’s membership includes nearly 300 organizations from 59 countries, and it has delivered 26 catalytic grants, as well as technical support, to organizations in 14 countries that aim to reach 31 million people with mobile health information and services. The Alliance has produced more than 20 publications on wide-ranging mHealth topics, and it has spearheaded a number of projects, partnerships and initiatives designed to strengthen the enabling environment for mHealth in low- and middle-income countries.
In the coming months, the mHealth Alliance will finalize a full transition plan for 2014, including a proposal to co-locate with the Johannesburg-based Praekelt Foundation, a long-standing leader in mobile for social good. The Alliance will also continue to engage key partners and mHealth stakeholders to inform the transition process and help shape the scope of its work in Africa.