Challenges faced by mHealth Technologies in Uganda

 Almost 24.8m or 70.9 per cent of Ugandans own mobile phones, a report by the National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U), has revealed. The report dubbed the National IT Survey 2017/2018, sampled 2,700 people among government ministries, departments, agencies, local governments and households across the country in 2017. The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) 2014 Access and Usage of Communication Services Across Uganda study showed 52.3 per cent of Ugandans owned mobile phones.

mHealth – The Global Organization for eHealth (GOe) defines mHealth or 6mobile health as medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices. Through mHealth various SMS platforms have been created to exchange information among health workers, patients and communities. Voice messages and MMS are also being used. mHealth is a component of eHealth and telemedicine.

· eHealth: using information and communication technology (ICT)—such as computers, mobile phones, and satellite communications—for health services and information and   Telemedicine: the use of electronic information and communications technologies to provide and support health care when distance separates the participants.

Challenges Faced in Uganda’s Health Service Delivery

·  Inadequate and poor maintenance of health facilities.

· Understaffing in health facilities especially at the low level Health Centres such as Health Centre IIIs and Health Centre IIs.

·  Mismanagement of funds intended for sustaining the health sector.

·  Absenteeism of health workers from their work stations.

·  Unsuitably skilled health workers that find it difficult to diagnose malaria and other common diseases correctly.

· Insufficient remuneration of health workers.

· Lack of proper patient history recording system.

·  Frequent stock-outs of essential medicines and medical supplies due to hoarding of drugs, self-referrals by patients and trade of Government medicines.

· Some unscrupulous medical suppliers sell counterfeit medicine which can be detrimental to the health of patients.

· Health services may not stretch to communities in remote and hard to reach areas.

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