Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to sponsor Irish mobile health conference

By: August 30, 2013
Bill & Melinda Gates Bill & Melinda Gates

Ireland is to host a global mobile health education conference, mHealthEd, on the 12th and 13th September, sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Science Foundation Ireland, and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation, Norad.

The conference will bring together authorities in medicine and mobile technology, animation artists, academics, and government healthcare officials from across the globe with the aim of “accelerating the impact of mobile health education in developing countries”.

While health services are lagging behind in developing countries, these countries are experiencing a communications revolution, driven by up to 80% mobile phone penetration, the expansion of network coverage, and the cost of calls decreasing.

As a result, mobile phones and specifically health education content developed for mobile phones, have become powerful tools to provide life-saving health education, advice and training to patients, volunteers, community health workers and medical staff.

Examples of successful implementation of mobile health education include the use of text messages to advise people on how to avoid malaria or how to get tested for HIV/ Aids.

Health education content on mobile phones has been used to provide distance learning programmes for health workers, nurses and clinical officers.

The two-day conference, will see over 30 experts in this field speak at the event, which will be held in the Mansion House, Dublin on the 12th and 13th September.

Speakers include:
• Dr. Marc D. Mitchell – Founder of D-Tree International and Lecturer on Global Health at Harvard School of Public Health
• Firdaus Kharas, a leading social entrepreneur and media producer who has earned 70 international awards including for his use of video and animation to better the human condition around the world, through animated campaigns such as stopping the spread of HIV/ Aids, protecting against malaria and combating domestic violence
• Kieran Ryan, CEO, Irish College of General Practitioners
• Nand Wadhwani, the Founding Trustee of The Mother and Child Health & Education Trust, a charity that employs all communications technologies to reach and transfer health and nutrition knowledge directly from and to the whole community.

In addition to the conference, there will be a public exhibition of some of the latest health promotion media, as well as a screening of director Randy Kelly’s 2013 documentary ‘The Animated Activist’ about the award winning media producer and global health activist, Firdaus Kharas. The exhibition is taking place in Dublin’s Meeting House Square, Temple Bar at 7pm on Thursday 12th September and is free-of-charge.

For further information on the conference and exhibition, please visit www.mhealthed.org