A policy briefing focusing on how the mobile phone offers important
opportunities for saving lives, drawing on BBC Media Action's direct
experience in using phones to improve health education in one of the
poorest states of India.This briefing focuses on how one of the greatest
engines of innovation in the 21st century – the mobile phone – provides
a high-impact solution to save lives. It identifies three aspects of
mHealth – the delivery of healthcare information and services via mobile
communication devices – that renders it such a potentially robust
• Reach. The first is its capacity to leverage existing – and quite
basic – phones to provide life-saving information to people in
difficult-to-reach, rural areas.
• Design. The second is its capacity to tailor both the delivery and
content of that information to the needs of poor, illiterate and
• Scale. The third is its capacity to operate at scale in a
cost-effective, financially sustainable way.
Mobile telephony is not a panacea for all health challenges in the
developing world. But there is enough experience – and the beginnings of
an evidence base – to argue that mHealth deserves serious attention from
any development actor seeking to improve global health.
MacPherson, Y.; Sara Chamberlain, S. Health on the move: Can mobile phones save lives? Policy Briefing No. 7. BBC Media Action, London, UK (2013) 24 pp.