Samsung has joined the GSMA in an initiative harnessing mobile technology to reach 15.5 million pregnant women and mothers of young infants across Africa.
Thabiet Allie, Head of Content and Services at Samsung Electronics Africa, made the announcement at the Partnership for Maternal, New-born & Child Health Partner’s Forum held in Johannesburg South Africa in July. Allie said Samsung was proud to be one of the founding partners in the GSMA Mobile for Development Health programme which is an integral part of the United Nations ‘Every Woman Every Child Strategy’.
The partnership seeks to reach15.5 million pregnant women and mothers with young infants across the continent, who require access to healthcare services. The programme will be rolled out in two phases; the first phase will be launched in seven countries (Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Uganda and Zambia) from September 2014. The second phase will launch in 2015 when Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania will be added to the programme.
Samsung was proud to be involved with the programme from its inception, Allie said.
“It is a vital initiative that fits perfectly with our approach to forming strategic relationships that provide socially relevant solutions to the needs of our customers. We have achieved significant success with our involvement in helping to deliver socially relevant and sustainable solutions that have been built on our commitment to finding the best partners to form alliances with in specific sectors.
Within the context of the GMSA Mobile Development for Health programme, mobile telephonic technology offers major opportunities to deliver healthcare, Allie said.
Mobile technology offers unrivalled, easy access to much needed information about healthcare, which can extend from diagnosing specific ailments and identifying required interventions to information on how services can be accessed. It has the ability to address the distances and delivery of services that pose major disadvantages for the developing world. Mobile bridges the information gap caused by geographical distances that make access to medical advice and care major problems for millions of African women and children. By leveraging its existing reach and market penetration across the continent, Samsung will play an integral role in making healthcare accessible to consumers.
“As the leading mobile device brand on the continent Samsung is able to leverage the affinity which consumers already have for our brand and use it to add impetus to the goal of providing much needed access to healthcare information to people who need it most”, says Allie.
Samsung has committed to ensuring that its devices reach consumers. This is recognition of the fact that it is only when consumers can engage with content that the technology can truly have an impact.
Collectively, the partnership will reduce barriers to handset ownership and connectivity for consumers and health workers by committing to:
- Offer discounted Samsung handsets and tablets to consumers and health workers across Africa;
- Provide access to the Samsung ecosystem (e.g. music, video and other value-added services) to be used as an incentive to drive health usage;
- Pre-embed a Smart Health application that provides a range of professional applications, information and services on 80 million Samsung handsets;
- Leverage existing and new MTN SIMs to allow free access to health content, health registration and data collection via the Smart Health application;
- Provide simplified access to MTN mobile money, advertising and billing capabilities; and
- Make innovative diagnostics like the Omega Diagnostics Visitect HIV CD4 point of care solution more affordable and accessible via mobile integration.
Through these commitments, the partners aim to simplify the relationships between mobile and health stakeholders, while maximising the ubiquitous nature of mobile technology and its capabilities for health providers and, ultimately, for patients.
A critical success factor for Samsung and its ecosystem has always been the ability to package information and deliver it in a way that promotes optimum consumer engagement. As part of this programme Samsung will also be providing consumers across the continent access to its ecosystem. In addition to this Samsung will embed the SmartHealth app on its smartphones being shipped across Africa, thereby ensuring that healthcare workers and consumers have access to the information they require.
“One of the most effective ways to drive access is through video, spoken language and images. By providing access to our ecosystem, we will be using technology to deliver information effectively and in a manner that appeals to users and also provides access to value-added services” concludes Allie.