Prioritizing ICT Interventions for Health


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Author(s): MEASURE Evaluation SIFSA

Year: 2017

Prioritizing ICT Interventions for Health Abstract:

Information and communication technologies (ICTs)—which include eHealth and mHealth—have begun to change the way healthcare is delivered in resource-limited settings. Examples of these changes are tracking of women throughout pregnancy, maintaining supplies of essential medical commodities, and promoting behaviour change and service uptake via text messages (Mendozo, Okoko, Morgan, & Konopka, 2013). Mobile health (mHealth) technologies have been seen as a driving force behind the “ICT for health” revolution in global development. The South African mHealth Strategy 2015–2019 defines mHealth as the use of mobile computing, medical sensors, or other communication technology in the delivery of health-related services (National Department of Health, 2015).

Though there have been many successful mHealth interventions, there have also been many partial successes or outright failures, leading people to believe that most ICT projects in developing countries fail or are unable to scale up past the pilot stage (Heeks, 2002).

In general, ICT priorities should be determined in the context of achieving local, national, and global health priorities. Data from existing health information systems should be used in decision making and in the design of monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems. However, this often is not the case. Instead, priorities are often determined through ad hoc decisions, instead of using established guidelines.

This brief examines a method of weighting criteria that can provide guidance for setting priorities for health interventions and ICTs, specifically. It illustrates a way to improve transparency and avoid ad hoc decisions in the allocation of healthcare resources.

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