On this blog, we frequently discuss the many ways that access to mobile technology has transformed lives for people living in emerging markets. From mobile money to apps specifically for farmers, mobile technology is a vast umbrella encompassing immeasurable opportunity for the development of creative solutions to problems. The current global health crisis is no exception to such opportunity, rather it has proved to be a catalyst for the development of unique ways to connect with people living in emerging markets. This blog post will highlight a few of the recent innovations made in the mobile technology space that are assisting their users in the fight against Coronavirus.
mPharma – A mHealth tool for Africans
mPharma is a startup electronic pharmaceutical platform developed for African countries that is available on desktop and mobile. Healthcare providers, pharmacies, and insurance companies use the mPharma platform to source prescription drugs at a more reasonable cost than any other drug sources, and no payments are required up-front. This model is aimed to alleviate financial barriers that are inhibiting Africans from accessing life-saving healthcare treatments.
mPharma also has a free mobile application for healthcare-seeking patients. This app, which is called Mutti, allows patients to pay for medications using mobile money, with only a small amount of money required upfront. The rest of the cost can be paid back incrementally on a flexible timeline.
In a time when medical resources are limited due to a pandemic, mPharma’s platform for healthcare providers and patients is incredibly important. Accessibility of medication for the treatment of non-coronavirus related health issues is integral to keeping valuable space available in hospitals for patients that need emergency care.
Well Beyond – An educational mobile app for Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene
Well Beyond, short for “well beyond water”, is a free mobile application that emerged as an educational tool in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The mobile application provides people living in with practical knowledge and hygiene recommendations for staying protected from the coronavirus. The app is unique because the hygiene recommendations are specifically designed for people with minimal resources available and the app’s content explains how to use available resources as effectively as possible.
To reach people that don’t own smartphones, Well Beyond partners with NGOs. These partnerships allow Well Beyond to train the NGO staff on-the-ground in vulnerable communities on how to best educate residents on how to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The trainings are optimized for the specific region the NGO staff are working in and take into consideration what resources residents have access to, which informs action plans the NGO staff can recommend to the vulnerable communities.
Contact Tracing Apps—Go.Data by the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization worked with the Global Outbreak Response Network, as well as other partners, to develop a mobile application called Go.Data. Although a contact tracing app, Go.Data is not the same Bluetooth-to-Bluetooth tracker that is popular in advanced economies. The Go.Data app actually facilities public health workers, called Contact Tracers, who battle the spread of highly infectious viruses on-the-ground in outbreak hot spots.
Contact Tracers in this context work in LMICs going door-to-door screening for symptoms, collecting data, and tracking down anyone who may have been exposed in order to curb the spread. Until Go.Data, Contact Tracers used pen and paper for every aspect of the job, which was time-consuming. Go.Data speeds up the process significantly, which is of paramount importance during outbreaks of highly contagious diseases.
The app has already proven quite effective. Go.Data was released in September of 2019 and was used in managing the Ebola outbreak in the DRC and has been used successfully in the Maldives combatting the spread of Coronavirus.
GeoPoll’s Mobile Research Platform
GeoPoll’s mobile research platform is also fighting against coronavirus in emerging markets. Our unique survey research methodology utilizes mobile phones for remote data collection, which is the quickest and safest way for development and humanitarian aid organizations to conduct research during this crisis. Since the pandemic began, our platform has conducted 2,409,077 interviews across 88 countries and the resulting data has informed countless decisions. To learn more about how GeoPoll’s data collection platform can be a resource for your organization, contact us today.