International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Community Development and Planning (CDP)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Ellen Foley

Second Reader

Kathryn Madden


ABSTRACT Background: In the last 10-15 years, mobile health (mHealth) interventions have generated considerable interest as tools for sustainable development in the global health sector as well as to improve access to care for remotely isolated populations in Sub-Saharan Africa. This paper explores existing literature on mHealth for clinical data collection for maternal health, discusses some of its benefits and challenges, and addresses mHealth’s limitations, such as 1) inadequate monitoring and evaluation framework; (2) inability for project scalability; and (3) lack of partnerships that are unsustainable and inclusive of all stakeholders. Although the healthcare sector acknowledges the potential benefits of mHealth, there should be further efforts to address these limitations. Methods: Initially, literature reviews were conducted to gain general knowledge about mHealth in Sub-Saharan Africa. After the literature review, 4 interviews with global health professionals working in global health consulting organizations in Boston were interviewed to gain further insight from those directly involved in mHealth projects. Results/Findings: Based on the interviews, it was determined that mHealth project scalability, local and external international partnership, and monitoring and evaluation framework are aspects requiring further investigation before integrating mHealth within a larger national healthcare system in a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Conclusions: mHealth should be implemented with the intention of incorporating it into existing national health systems rather than as an external supplement. If stakeholders show interest in nationalizing mHealth interventions, project partnership, monitoring and evaluation framework, and project scalability should be give greater attention.



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