On 29 June 2018, HIFA coordinator Neil Pakenham-Walsh and mHIFA adviser Geoff Royston presented 'Universal access to healthcare information' at the International Health Congress in Oxford, UK.
They argued that universal access to healthcare information (basic, practical healthcare information for citizens and health workers) is a prerequisite for achieving the health Sustainable Development Goals. Thanks to the ubiquity of mobile phones - with 6 billion smartphones expected by 2020 - universal access to healthcare information is now within our reach. The content and technology are there, but the penetration of content into populations is minimal and therefore ineffective. What is needed is massive scale-up at population level, whether by pre-loading, side-loading or other methods. The vital next step is to convene the key stakeholders - WHO, ITU, governments, mobile network operators and content producers - to explore options for scale-up in at least one country. We believe this can be done cheaply and will have huge benefits, empowering citizens and health workers with basic healthcare information in the palm of their hands.
We welcome many new HIFA members who joined us at the conference.
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