• Piers Bocock

    Director of Knowledge Management and Communication, CGIAR



    My time in Cape Town represents the fourth mHealth Summit that I’ve attended – December 2009 in Washington, DC; November 2010 in Washington, DC; November/December in Accra, Ghana; and now here in June 2011 in Cape Town. While these meetings always inspire, at times I feel like I’m hearing the same conversations over and over again – though there is a seeming groundswell towards new progress (more on that a little later).

    Part of the challenge is that the mobile-phone-as-killer-app that is going to change the developing world has been hyped for so long that many are starting to ask aloud why we are still talking about mostly small-scale projects, and not yet seen any end-to-end solutions showing serious impact.  We all know the staggering statistics: approximately 5 BILLION handsets are in use around the world; it is the most pervasive communications outlet the world has ever seen. But still, when we talk about examples of how mobile phones are changing the lives of people in developing countries, we reference pilot projects that are using tens, hundreds, and more rarely, thousands of handsets at only distinct points on the health value chain.

    Why is that? Why are “mHealth Summits” popping up all over the world but the impact is not yet seen on a large scale? Is it possible that the hype is bigger than the reality? Maybe. Or maybe we’ve spent so much time working on little projects, side-by-side, duplicating effort and recreating wheels rather than collaborating on a true mHealth value chain (the buzz-word this week is “ecosystem”). The momentum is also growing to stop thinking of mHealth in its own little silo, and starting thinking bigger into other mobile-enabled sectors – incorporating other uses and functions into the overall mobile ecosystem.

  • Elsie Minja-Mwaniki

    CCP | Communications Specialist

    Communication @ the Center is the theme of this year’s 2011 Conference of the International Communication Association. The theme highlights the centrality of communication scholarship by encouraging panels that identify core components of critical challenges and issues, and explore the role of communication studies in addressing them. The role played by information and communication technologies (ICTs) in the process of health communication cannot be understated. While ICTs hold great potential for improving knowledge management, supplying access to ICTs is not enough: information needs to be practical, easy-to-use, and locally relevant.

    Emerging Mobile Technologies

    A pre-conference to the Communication @ the Center was the Seamlessly Mobile: Mobile Communication @ a Crossroads, held from May 25-26, 2011. Already providing a venue for innovative scholars from around the world who are doing research in the area of mobile communication, the pre-conference also created an opportunity to discuss the challenges that face the integration of the internet into mobile phones not only for users, but for those doing research on mobile communication.

    A local vegetable vendor talks on a mobile phone in rural India. © 2009 Dr Urvish Joshi, Courtesy of Photoshare.

    Members of the Center for Communication Program, Knowledge for Health Project, presented Applying Mobile Technologies to Improve Maternal and Infant Health in Rural Uttar Pradesh, India at the pre-conference. As part of a multi-country study, the Knowledge for Health (K4Health) project conducted a qualitative needs assessment of health information needs in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state. While the focus was on the government’s public health system, a special effort was made to understand the health information needs of ASHAs, who are grassroots health workers at the village level.

  • Cassandra Mickish Gross

    CCP | Program Officer II

    May 28, 2011 marks the 24th International Day of Action for Women’s Health founded in 1987 by the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR), focusing on a topic that remains timely and important, particularly to us here at K4Health.

    This week the Kaiser Family Foundation also hosted a briefing entitled “How is the U.S. Global Health Initiative Changing What Happens in the Field?,” featuring Lois Quam, the new executive director of GHI, experts working to implement GHI programs in the field, and health and development experts with diverse experience in both the private and public sectors. 

  • Kate Stence

    K4Health, CCP | Comm. Manager

    Healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies is an essential way of creating stronger health outcomes worldwide. It is an approach to family planning service delivery that supports women and couples in making informed decisions about delaying a first pregnancy until age 18, as well as timing and spacing subsequent pregnancies for improved health benefits for both mother and baby. Some researchers have concluded that 1.8 million under-five deaths could be averted annually if all pregnancies were spaced 36 months from the preceding birth.

    The Extended Service Delivery Project, a Pathfinder-led USAID project, recently launched the Healthy Timing and Spacing of Pregnancy (HTSP) Toolkit on Knowledge for Health while USAID just announced the release of a new HTSP eLearning course.

  • K4Health Highlights

    Kate Stence

    K4Health, CCP | Comm. Manager

    The past two weeks found the K4Health team at back-to-back conferences, although one conference was technically an unconference. Last week held the KM Impact Challenge unConference Discovering Measures that Matter for Knowledge Management in Washington, DC, while the end of this week closed CORE Group's Equity in Health: Ensuring Access, Increasing Use conference in Baltimore.

  • Today is World Malaria Day! The theme of the fourth World Malaria Day - Achieving Progress and Impact - encourages the international community's renewed efforts in making progress towards zero malaria deaths by 2015.In keeping with this year’s theme, we would like to highlight the Voices for a Malaria-Free Future (Voices) project at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs (CCP).

  • On April 22, 2011, we celebrate Earth Day, of which this year's theme is "A Billion Acts of Green." The idea behind this theme is to mobilize people to accomplish one billion acts of environmental service around the world.

  • I am the mother of a teenager, living in a text-obsessed world of communicating by “LOL, OMG, and 2GTBT”. I even have to admit that I’ve succumbed to the ease of texting “IM outside” when I arrive at school to pick him up – or more frequently “Where R U?” Hmmm. What’s up with that? So it brought joy to my heart when I visited the Knowledge for Health (K4H) Learning Center in Salima, Malawi, and experienced texting in a whole new way--in a purposeful way-- better yet, in a life saving way.

  • Rebecca Shore

    CCP | Program Officer II

    World Health Day 2011 web button

    Join K4Health in celebrating World Health Day 2011 by learning more about antimicrobial resistance.
    Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) or drug resistance is when a virus, bacteria, or parasite become resistant to a medicine which was previously used as a treatment. These medications include antibiotics, antivirals, and antimalarials. As a result of the misuse of antimicrobial medicines, standard treatments become resistant or ineffective and infections persist or spread. [1]

  • Kavitha Nallathambi

    CCP | Communications Specialist

    On March 24, K4Health recognizes World Tuberculosis Day, which raises awareness of the enormous toll caused by TB and encourages strategies and interventions to prevent, treat, and control the disease.  The 2011 World TB Day campaign focuses on individuals around the world who have found new ways to stop TB and can serve as an inspiration to others.