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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(11), 11559-11582; doi:10.3390/ijerph111111559

Mobile Phone-Based mHealth Approaches for Public Health Surveillance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review

1
Department of Public Health Medicine, School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, P.O. Box 100131, D-33501 Bielefeld, Germany
2
Department of Biological, Environmental, Occupational Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Ghana, P.O. Box LG13, Legon, Ghana
3
Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Bernhard Nocht-Str. 74, D-20359 Hamburg, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 8 July 2014 / Revised: 24 October 2014 / Accepted: 28 October 2014 / Published: 12 November 2014
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [717 KB, uploaded 12 November 2014]

Abstract

Whereas mobile phone-based surveillance has the potential to provide real-time validated data for disease clustering and prompt respond and investigation, little evidence is available on current practice in sub-Sahara Africa. The objective of this review was to examine mobile phone-based mHealth interventions for Public Health surveillance in the region. We conducted electronic search in MEDLINE, EMBASE, IEE Xplore, African Index Medicus (AIM), BioMed Central, PubMed Central (PMC), the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and IRIS for publications used in the review. In all, a total of nine studies were included which focused on infectious disease surveillance of malaria (n = 3), tuberculosis (n = 1) and influenza-like illnesses (n = 1) as well as on non-infectious disease surveillance of child malnutrition (n = 2), maternal health (n = 1) and routine surveillance of various diseases and symptoms (n = 1). Our review revealed that mobile phone-based surveillance projects in the sub-Saharan African countries are on small scale, fragmented and not well documented. We conclude by advocating for a strong drive for more research in the applied field as well as a better reporting of lessons learned in order to create an epistemic community to help build a more evidence-based field of practice in mHealth surveillance in the region. View Full-Text
Keywords: mobile health; eHealth; sub-Saharan Africa; mobile phone; cellular phone; surveillance; monitoring mobile health; eHealth; sub-Saharan Africa; mobile phone; cellular phone; surveillance; monitoring
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Brinkel, J.; Krämer, A.; Krumkamp, R.; May, J.; Fobil, J. Mobile Phone-Based mHealth Approaches for Public Health Surveillance in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Systematic Review. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 11559-11582.

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