Using Mobile Technology to Improve Family Planning and Health Programs Meeting Report


This report documents the lessons learned from the regional meeting on “Using Mobile Technology to Improve Family Planning and Health Programs” held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania from November 12-16, 2012. The meeting was sponsored by the Bureau for Africa’s (AFR) Office of Sustainable Development and the Bureau for Global Health’s (GH) Office of Population and Reproductive Health of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), USAID/East Africa and USAID/Tanzania. It brought together country teams comprising representatives from governmental and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and civil society from 13 countries and two regional programs. This was the third in a series of meetings organized by the country teams to share experiences and ideas for improving family planning programs. The country teams selected the topic of mobile technology as mobile phone penetration has increased rapidly in Sub-Saharan Africa; proving to be a game-changing technology for development.

In addition to panel discussions, the teams organized a gallery walk for interactive demonstrations of the technologies they have integrated into their health programming. The meeting also featured roundtable discussions with the private sector and with donors and site visits to observe mHealth applications in action. As in the past, the organization of the meeting was led by the country teams, involving preparation and participation for months in advance. The teams made the presentations and chaired the sessions. The participants awarded the country teams for outstanding efforts over the course of the meeting.

This report (a) highlights the current use of mobile technology for health and the lessons for scaling up; (b) describes the visions and ideas of the country teams for future actions; (c) defines key takeaways from the private sector and donor contributions at the meeting.